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25 July 2017

Adobe is finally killing its hated Flash Player

Image: MASHABLE COMPOSITE, ADOBE, GETTY CREATIVE LIANGPV

Adobe has finally acknowledged what the rest of us have known for years: Flash needs to die. 

The software giant plans to stop supporting and updating Flash Player by 2020, according to a  statement from the company. Sites that use Flash will continue to work through 2020, but will no longer work once Adobe “end-of-lifes” the software. 

Once a standard tool for web development, Flash Player has become something of a pariah in recent years. The software slowed down browsers and posed a near-constant security risk, as vulnerability after vulnerability was discovered. 

The problems were so bad, Steve Jobs  famously wrote a scathing 1,688-word screed titled “Thoughts on Flash,” outlining the many reasons why Flash didn’t belong on the iPhone back in 2009.

Steve Jobs also famously despised the software

Moreover, modern browsers have made Flash Player largely unnecessary. Major browsers now support a variety of open web standards, like HTML5, that enable the same kinds of experiences that once depended on Flash. Browser makers have also been disabling Flash Player by default. 

Unsurprisingly, all this has lead to significantly decreased usage. Google notes that today, only 17 percent of Chrome users visit a site that depends on Flash each day, compared with 80 percent three years ago.

Still, there are many sites out there that, unfortunately, still use Flash. Adobe, along with partners like Facebook, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Google, will spend the next three years working with content creators to adopt new standards. Facebook is also stepping in to help game developers move to HTML5 and other newer standards.

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