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October 07, 2010

Rumors of Flash's demise have been greatly exaggerated

Just a few months ago it may have seemed like Apple's refusal to support Flash on the iPhone had signaled the death knell of the technology. Since Apple's platform was so dominant, it looked like we had to find other ways to play videos or risk leaving a significant slice of our user base out in the cold.

Flash forward (no pun intended) 6 months and Android is poised to leap frog Apple in the mobile market share wars. Apple is now predicted to end up in fourth place after Blackberry. And guess what? Most other mobile platforms do support Flash. So now it is Apple that risks alienating its users. The NY Times' David Pogue recently ranted on this very issue.

As content producers we still can't afford to ignore our iPhone user base. But neither can we expect Flash to go away. Remember the days when we had to produce multiple video formats to support Mac and Windows users? Flash's ubiquity and ability to play embedded video had rendered that practice unnecessary...for a time.

But with the iPhone-Flash debacle, it looks like we are back to supporting multiple formats for each and every video. At least until all of the major browser platforms support a common video format again, such as H.264. We can only hope.

Posted by levi at 10:16 PM