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Adobe Insists Flash Will Survive HTML 5

Google insists open Web standards will win the day, but Adobe Flash remains the de facto platform for rich Internet applications.

At Google's developer conference last month, VP of engineering Vic Gundotra declared that "the Web has won" and suggested that emerging open Web standards such as HTML 5 have become the preferred platform to create Web applications, even graphically rich ones.

Adobe begs to differ. Its Flash platform remains the de facto standard for rich Internet applications, and the company would be happy for that situation to continue. To make sure that happens, some from Adobe are expressing doubts about HTML 5.

During a recent investor conference call, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen dismissed HTML 5 as being unable to deliver a consistent user experience across different Web browsers and predicted that a decade will pass before the specification gets standardized.

"[T]he fragmentation of browsers makes Flash even more important rather than less important," he said.

Adobe has to put on a brave face in public, but the company appears to be increasingly worried about the future of Flash. Perhaps with good reason: Google's demonstration at its developer conference of a YouTube prototype built with HTML 5 rather than Flash offers a warning of what could come.

So it is that Adobe has been working to reassure its customers and the Internet community at large that Flash is healthy and will make it to the iPhone eventually. Last year, it went to the trouble of launching the Open Screen Project to promote no-cost licensing of Flash for mobile and embedded devices.

In a blog post on Wednesday, John Dowdell, who works in customer relations at Adobe, continued that campaign. Responding to recent "Flash-killer headlines" and a flurry of "kill Flash" tweets on Twitter, he dismissed Apple, Google, and Mozilla as a "consortium of minority browser vendors" and characterized what others regard as threats to Flash, such as Microsoft's Silverlight and Flash's absence on the iPhone, as endorsements of the technology.

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