After 20 years of waning popularity, Adobe will finally pull the plug on Flash. The firm announced on their blog on Tuesday that they will stop distributing and giving future updates for the plug-in by the end of 2020. Flash onced powered early websites to be able to run videos and other media contents online.
The company’s announcement on Tuesday didn’t come as a surprise as major web browsers such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Safari have all blocked Flash by default for years following the rise of new formats such as HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly. These formats has became prominent and finally taken over the role of Flash just after a short span of time.
“Specifically, we will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats,” Adobe wrote on the their blog on Tuesday.
However, the software is still widely used today in number of online games and video websites. To help with the transition, the company promises to continue working with their partners to support the technology in the next three years.
“We remain fully committed to working with partners, including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla to maintain the security and compatibility of Flash content,” Adobe added on the announcement. “In addition, we plan to move more aggressively to [end of life] Flash in certain geographies where unlicensed and outdated versions of Flash Player are being distributed.”
Flash Player’s biggest critic, Apple, announced via WebKit website that they are working with Adobe and other industry partners to help with the transition. Apple is publicly known to criticize the software for years, making it unsupported for their major products such as iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. But it wasn’t until 2010 when Apple started to stop supporting the Flash Player on Mac.
“iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch never supported Flash,” Apple wrote on their blog. “For the Mac, the transition from Flash began in 2010 when Flash was no longer pre-installed. Today, if users install Flash, it remains off by default. Safari requires explicit approval on each website before running the Flash plugin.”
Apple’s founder, Steve Jobs, repeatedly expressed his disdain with the software. He even wrote a public letter for Flash in 2010 asking Adobe to “focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future” instead of “criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.”