Flash Is Dead As A De Facto Internet Standard

Nov 4th, 2010 | By | Category: Apple iPad, Featured Story, iPhone, iPods & Portable Media Players

Earlier in the year, when we said that Flash is dead & the iPad is its tombstone, our thoughts were primarily on the 100 million + iOS devices that people were happily using, Flash free.

Many thought that this trend towards people working blissfully Flash-free would end as people using the larger-form-factor iPad ran into sites with broken Flash elements.

But no – the iPad isn’t just the fastest-selling gadget ever, the device has the highest satisfaction rating of any product that a leading consumer satisfaction index has ever tracked.

The “Flash Tax”

Now Apple’s Macs are shipping Flash-free, and it’s highlighting the “Flash tax” – the hit Flash puts on your computer’s performance, browser stability and battery life.

According to testing by Chris Foresman of Ars Technica, Flash can cut your battery life by a third, just to display banner ads.

“Having Flash installed can cut battery runtime considerably,” notest Forman. “As much as 33 percent, in our testing.”

If you’re like most laptop users, you’ve got a browser window open all the time. If so, Flash is probably chowing through a large chunk of your battery life, so that it can keep some banner ads blinking.

With Flash missing in action on the most popular mobile platforms and now on the latest crop of Macs, Flash is dead as a de facto Internet standard.

Sources: digitaltrends, cnbc, ArsTechnica, AppleInsider

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15 Responses to “Flash Is Dead As A De Facto Internet Standard”

  1. John Dowdell says:

    Actually, it may point towards Techmeme being dead, as a rational news-gathering source…. 😉

    (Obviously blocking content reduces page-rendering demands. I use an ad-blocker to head off all your Google web-beacons, for instance… saves a bunch of HTTP negotiations, beyond adding the expected level of cross-site privacy. “Podcasts” are more expensive than well-edited text, both computationally and in precious human minutes. Nothing complicated about it.)

    I realize there may be value added to your personal belief systems by broadcasting titles which are obviously not so… some folks don’t read, but just skim headlines, and it’s definitely possible to bend minds. But there are many great things to be done in this world, better ways to invest your time.


    • James Lewin says:

      3 years ago, Flash was the standard for Internet video. This is now.

      I can understand that, as an Adobe employee, you’re passionate about Flash as a technology.

      But, if you disagree with the statement that Flash is no longer a de facto standard, or that the fastest growing category of Internet devices is Flash-free, you’d be better off presenting a coherent case why you think these trends are really not trends.

      Podcasting News readers aren’t the types whose minds are bent by headlines. So, it’s reasonable for them to expect you to either present an informed argument or at least to deliver effective PR.

      • John Dowdell says:

        Dude, get a grip. Your headline is tendentious, your term “de facto standard” subject to multi-definitions. It’s just arguing, and a waste.

        Adding a VIDEO tag for a Flash H.264 stream is a manageable chore, albeit an unnecessary one for the world’s website creators, driven solely by Apple’s proprietary business drivers. If there *is* any “de facto standard” it would be Flash, certainly not the extra Pad handling, which would fail in the world’s most popular “HTML5” browser (Firefox), or the world’s most popular mobile browser (Opera).

        Apple spent a mint on a successful marketing campaign for smartphones and for new tablets, and for that we all owe them thanks… they’ve opened up mainstream eyes to the new formfactors. But the exclusionary attempt to sharecrop developers will fail, because normal people expect applications and content to work on whichever device they have. Flash and AIR, as bridging technologies, will therefore come under feverish criticism from Apple fanciers now. History’s against that powerplay though.

        What I’d like to see is normal transparency from every blogger glomming onto a Techmeme cluster for link-traffic, disclosing their contacts with Apple and any of their subcontracting marketing firms. If there’s no contact, document it, commit to it. Anonymous commenting has to go too… it’s hypothetically possible that none of it is astroturfing, but the unnecessary lack of normal disclosure of self-interest makes it increasingly unlikely that none of it is.

        … and at this point, I realize you can play the asymmetrical “oh he’s an employee and he hurt my feelings so fire him” card. But it would be better to disclose, better to listen as well as speak. There’s tons of jive in the Silicon Valley blogosphere right now, and the situation cannot stand.

        For the silliness of the title itself, how would YOU reach the majority of the world’s devices? Why do you think that every major manufacturer except Cupertino is working with Adobe to achieve the best Flash support? What can “Flash is Dead” be but an attempt to delay the unification of the world’s screens, solely for proprietary gain?


        • James Lewin says:


          Sorry if the headline offends – but Flash used to be the de facto standard for Internet video (see https://www.podcastingnews.com/content/2007/12/adobe-flash-hd-video/ ) and it’s clear that that is no longer the case.

          The fastest growing segment of Internet devices is Flash-free. Content creators can’t ignore this trend and we can’t assume users have Flash support. Flash used to be a de facto standard; it isn’t anymore.

          That doesn’t mean Flash isn’t a useful tool; it just means you can’t assume that it’s available.

          Instead of suggesting that reasonable, fact-based statements like that are biased by secret contacts with Apple (wtf?), why don’t you let people know, in a constructive way, why you think it still makes sense for content creators to rely on Flash? Or make the case for using Adobe tools to develop content for mobile devices?

          That’s the level of professionalism I’d expect from an Adobe rep. Not comments that only offer disrespect for bloggers and wacky conspiracy theories.

    • Jenna T. says:

      John –

      Now that you’ve pissed off podcasters, bloggers and everybody that reads TechMeme, are you going to stick your other foot in your mouth?

      There are “better ways to invest your time” than being a troll. 😉

      People use smartphones for everything now, and people have voted with their dollars. They don’t care about Flash.

  2. Matthew Fabb says:

    Running animations and video simply consumes more battery life than static images, when it comes to battery life. If the Flash install base shrinks expect more HTML based animated ads in the future.

    I would imagine you could get a few more hours of battery life by turning off JavaScript, CSS and images and just reading plain text off of websites. However, most people would likely rather not keep with a more interactive web.

    Note that Microsoft stopped pre-installing the Flash Player on Windows machines many, many years ago (I think it might have been with Windows XP that they stopped) and it did nothing to decrease the Flash penetration on desktops.

    • James Lewin says:

      Yet, HTML 5 video has jumped from 10% of all Internet video to 54% so far this year because it’s no long a de facto standard.

      • Matthew Fabb says:

        HTML5 video, mostly using the H.264 codec, which Firefox and Opera users can’t see. So even when IE9 is out and adapted by all (5 years from now?) then 30% of your the internet cannot view the video without using the Flash Player.

        Meanwhile, the big hold outs are tv networks and studios, who stay with plugins to provide some sort of DRM to protect their video streams. For devices without Flash they are going to provide them with native devices, rather than allow users to very easily download video files with a simple right-click.

        • James Lewin says:

          Matthew – I think you’re right, there’s going to be fragmentation and no de facto standard for several years.

          There will also be legacy content that will get marginalized as fewer people have Flash-enabled devices.

          It doesn’t make sense for content developers to create content that’s going to be marginalized, though, unless it’s the only practical option at this point.

          • Matthew Fabb says:

            Only Adobe is working with all the major smartphone companies except for Apple to get Flash Player working on their devices. So after a while the trend is going to reverse with more and more mobile devices available with Flash.

            Also on top of Flash Player running faster with GPU, Adobe has worked out a way to run video faster when they remove it out of the Flash Player’s DisplayList. They called this StageVideo and Adobe’s MAX conference, they demoed a HD 1080 video playing on a MacBook AIR with just 8% to 10% CPU. They also demoed huge 4K video files (generally for large project screens) running smoothly at full frame rate on the MacBook AIR.

            Another missing feature from HTML5 video is peer-to-peer video found in Flash Player 10.1. Adobe streamed their MAX keynote, using this technology, for what I think was the first major example using it. This isn’t even being discussed for HTML5 video tag. Clients getting the video stream from other clients instead of the server, HUGELY decreases in bandwidth and server costs for live events, making them a lot cheaper. Cheaper means more affordable and more online live events. Another reason why I think Flash video has a future on the web.

  3. There’s still too many sites using Flash to say that it’s dead. Although the trend seems to be to use video instead which is more demanding on systems.

  4. dawg says:

    well thats … cool

  5. I agree with dawg 😀

  6. truimagz says:

    It’s funny you say flash is dead, and basing it on apples stance.
    Maybe this tidbit of info will help you see better.
    At&t which at this time is the number 1 idevice supporter outsources there internet needs to many different design firms. One of which I worked at, and still associate with weekly. Point being that this design firm which employees 16 people for web work has zero people working on any type of html5 content. Instead they still use and employee a full staff of flash developers that create the RIA’s and ads for the web.

    If you were to ask them, how much html5 content have you created in the past year. The answer is zero.
    If you were to ask them how much of a slow down in flash development has your team seen in the past year. The answer is zero.
    If you were to ask them why that is. The answer is penetration rate, and robustness of platform.

    Point is, I see nothing that supports your argument going on in the real world.

  7. keith says:

    Is this an Apple owned site? Sure looks like one. Mac and ipad ads everywhere and anti Flash articles.
    You obviously have an agenda and so your ideas have no merit even with the “statistics”.
    We all know that Flash would compete for profits from apps so Apple wants to kill it.
    It’s NOT unstable, it’s NOT any more of an energy hog than any other video platform AND most importantly, it gives the same results across platforms. HTML5 will remain a nightmare for developers for years to come.

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