First, it was FutureWave, then it was Macromedia, and ultimately it was Adobe. These were the stages in the history of one of the most prolific multimedia software platforms ever developed: Flash. It has helped a wide range of users, from savvy programmers and animators to major companies with tech people, to create classy animations, websites, and online applications or games enjoyed by many. But Flash and its Player has also been the subject of harsh criticism and ridicule for a great number of issues. This month, however, Adobe seems to have bowed to the inevitable and decided to announce a definitive end to the software product’s lifespan in 2020.

Problems with security

The long fall from grace where Adobe Flash is concerned may have started in 2010 when Steve Jobs removed support for it in iOS for iPhones. Over the intervening years, other internet browsers such as Apple Safari, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Edge have been auto-blocking Flash animations and game apps. Finally, on Tuesday, July 25, Adobe itself has conceded defeat; with fewer and fewer services accepting Flash content there was no reason to keep it fit and fighting. As a company spokesperson tells it, “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.”

With three years left before Adobe Flash reaches its end-of-life date, there is plenty of time to contemplate the reasons why that particular multimedia software production platform got deprecated in the manner of MS Paint.

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For all its capabilities and potential Flash has been slammed in the past for its lack of security accommodations. Sneaky Flash developers could easily put in exploits in their created content. Furthermore, its features have become distressingly obsolete in the face of advances from open standards. HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly can do what Flash can now; therefore it is no longer so needed.

End of an era

Now that a countdown has been set on the complete cutting off Adobe Flash, the many partners of that company which uses the platform - Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla – will begin taking steps to phase it out of their systems. By 2019, Microsoft aims to disable support of the software in their Internet Explorer and Edge browsers. Google and Mozilla are likewise performing a gradual moving away from Flash. While security issues which have plagued the platform for so long may be addressed, the threat itself is not guaranteed to go away but will instead search for new exploitable targets. And it is not as if Adobe the company will suffer the end of Flash; as of late last year, their stock has been looking good.