Adobe pulls the plug on Flash; technology to retire by 2020 end

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Adobe flash player

Adobe has finally pulled the plug on Flash – a technology that once ruled the Internet – and has said it will retire the technology in a phased manner over the course of next three years.

Adobe’s decision will see its partners Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet Inc’s Google, Facebook and Mozilla Corp, work hand in hand to phase out Flash by 2020. Adobe will continue offering updates for Flash until 2020 after which no updates will be released. None of the browsers will support Flash after 2020.

Flash was created over two decades ago and went onto the become the defacto software for developers to create games, video players and applications capable of running on multiple web browsers. When Adobe acquired Flash in its 2005 purchase of Macromedia, the technology was on more than 98 percent of personal computers connected to the web, Macromedia said at the time. However, Flash suffered a massive blow when Apple decided not to support the technology on its iPhone.

Late Apple CEO Steve Jobs criticized Flash’s reliability, security and performance. Since then, other technologies like HTML5 have emerged as alternatives to Flash.

That decision by Apple may very well have been the first blow in a series of blows over the next few years. More and more browsers stopped enabling Flash by default and started asking users to enable Flash to view content owing to the security vulnerabilities present in the software.

In 2014, Flash was used each day by 80 percent of desktop users. That number is now at 17 percent “and continues to decline,” Google said in a blog Tuesday.

Flash, however, remains in use among some online gamers. Adobe said it will work with Facebook as well as Unity Technologies and Epic Games to help developers migrate their games. Adobe said it does not expect Flash’s sunset to have an impact on its bottom line.