Yesterday, November 9th 2011, was a day that Flash developers will remember for some time to come. It was also the day when Tim Siglin (why did I ever doubt him) was proven right when he posed the question: 'The TouchPad Is Dead; Is Adobe's Mobile Strategy Next?'.

Well as it turns out, yes it is, as Adobe yesterday announced that it will halt any further development on the Flash Player for mobile (the desktop Player is unaffected) and will focus on HTML5 to target those devices. The company also confirmed that the AIR runtime in combination with the Flash toolchain was its preferred choice for building native applications for mobile.
The announcement came shortly after the company announced healthy profits, and a 'restructuring' exercise which will see 750 employees lose their jobs. A sad day indeed.

As you can imagine, the uproar was huge, less so because of the fact that Adobe will halt its development on the mobile Flash Player (this makes sense - how many sites do you know that target the Flash Player in a mobile browser? I know of exactly 0) - but more so because of the way these announcements were handled. In short, it was a PR disaster with many of the main stream technology blogs heralding it as the death of Flash full stop.
Meanwhile Adobe's response to this was non existent, and it took all day before the evangelists were instructed to mop up the mess - by then it was too late.

It was disgusting to see self proclaimed tech journalists LOL-ing on Twitter about the layoffs, and even reveling in the fact that 'Steve had the last laugh'. It's pathetic and those individuals (I'm looking at you MG Siegler) should be ashamed of themselves. Even more frustrating is the fact that many people only get to see the well known tech blogs when it comes to tech 'news' and ignore the real sources, many of which are misquoted or outright ignored.

It's hard to draw any positive conclusions from this. Many members of the Flash community (including Grant Skinner who has a post-mortem and Peter Elst who calls it Flash homicide) have posted their thoughts and I suggest you read them as they offer a great angle on yesterday's events. And Lee Brimelow's post has received well over 90 comments already - he's one of the evangelists at Adobe.

I'm disappointed primarily about how Adobe has handled these announcements. Did they seriously expect that the CS Suite pricing changes make any headlines after they put a knife into Flash on mobile? This time I am angry at Adobe, not at Apple. There was not the tiniest hint about this last month at MAX, and noone in the Adobe Community space has had a heads up. Funny that, because whenever they make useless announcements we are first to know, but apparently not so when it really matters. This is a real shame as the decision to stop further development of the mobile Flash Player is quite a sensible one and it will free up resources within Adobe to put towards core Player development (although I am not sure how much will go towards the Flash Authoring team...), but the way they went about it was a total shambles.

Let's move on, the damage is done.

Image courtesy of Sean MacEntee