Google announced that starting June 30, display ads built in Flash can no longer be uploaded into AdWords and DoubleClick Digital Marketing. Then, starting January 2, display ads in the Flash format can no longer run on the Google Display Network or through DoubleClick. Going forward from that date, all of Google’s display ads will be 100 percent in HTML5.
That sound you hear is the dying gasp of a platform that should have been put down years ago.
Google has made no secret about its disdain for Flash. Indeed, much of the tech industry has voiced complaints about the platform, whose security holes make it easier than ever for hackers to penetrate.
Adobe Moves in the Same Direction
Adobe, as it happens, will be the first to admit this. It too has moved in this direction, offering a range of HTML5 development tools. It continues to support Flash for customers that still use it, a dwindling group if there ever was one.
Flash, in other words, didn’t need Google to kill it — it was on the brink of dying from old age.
Indeed, if any company could be said to have delivered the killing blow to the Flash platform that would be, or should be, Apple. Several years ago it banned Flash from its mobile ecosystem. Google's Android, in turn, stopped supporting it in its OS as well.
If Adobe Could Have Killed Flash It Would Have
None of this incidentally, is news to Adobe or even bad news for that matter. In fact, one gets the sense it will be a relief for the company that it will no longer have to continue to provide support for Flash at some point.
Speaking recently at UBS Global Technology conference last November, Adobe CFO Mark Garrett told the crowd that the company has been readjusting its portfolio for several years.
"We took lots of people off products that we didn't need to focus on as much anymore, so things like LiveCycle and Connect and Flash, and we were able to redeploy those resources to the businesses that needed growth and therefore we didn't have to add a lot of net new resource over the past few years," he said.
But, alas for Adobe, Flash still has it fan base.
Later during the conference an analyst raised the issue of Flash. "[A]nd I guess they thought we had extinguished this, but it seems like there has been a comeback of the Flash question. But…"
Here, Garrett politely cuts him off.
"Flash is not a material part of our revenue and we are helping people in many other ways outside of Flash now," he said.
Then, Mike Saviage, Adobe's VP of investor relations stepped in and promptly doubled down.
Flash was an authoring tool that was used primarily years ago to create Flash content, Saviage patiently explained. Flash is still used in certain areas of the web, he continued, "but pretty much all of the effort from Adobe and the industry has moved towards HTML5 and other types of capabilities."
One can almost see the thank you note Adobe's executives are penning Google now.