Ina Fried

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Gone in a Flash? Adobe Halting Development on Mobile Version of Its Plug-In

In a stunning move, Adobe is apparently ready to throw in the towel when it comes to getting Flash to run in mobile browsers.

According to a report Tuesday on ZDNet, the company is halting development on future mobile versions of Flash for Android and Research In Motion’s PlayBook, among other mobile operating systems.

“We will no longer adapt Flash Player for mobile devices to new browser, OS version or device configurations,” ZDNet quotes Adobe as telling developers. “Some of our source code licensees may opt to continue working on and releasing their own implementations. We will continue to support the current Android and PlayBook configurations with critical bug fixes and security updates.”

Instead, Adobe will focus on tools that allow Flash developers to create mobile apps by packaging their code to run on Adobe’s AIR platform, according to the report.

Adobe representatives were not immediately available for comment.

The move, if true, would be a major blow to Android device makers, who have long touted Flash compatibility as a key competitive advantage over Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

It would also mark a posthumous vindication for former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who took a controversial stand by not supporting Flash on Apple’s mobile products.

Although Adobe managed to get Flash running on Android devices, as well as the PlayBook, the performance was typically slow and inconsistent even on devices that supported it.

The move comes amid a broader restructuring at Adobe, which announced earlier on Tuesday that it was cutting 750 jobs and resorting its priorities.

Adobe didn’t specifically call out this move, though it did say it was increasing its investment in HTML5, and “focusing Flash resources on delivering the most advanced PC web experiences, including gaming and premium video, as well as mobile apps.”

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google