Adobe Flash Player: The Ascent & Death Of The Once-Popular Platform In 2022

Adobe Flash Player

Adobe Flash Player was one of the most popular software for facilitating multimedia support when HTML5 was not in the picture. According to Wikipedia, it facilitated the smooth functioning of web-based applications and offered seamless audio and video streaming. Initially created by Macromedia, the software was later acquired by Adobe. Back in the day, Flash Player allowed Internet users to go beyond static-appearing web pages and experience authentic and interactive multimedia content online

One of the main features that made the software a massive success was that it occupied very little space and offered a versatile plugin that could run on all major operating systems. However, the software came with its own set of security and malware issues, which became a significant reason for its downfall and eventual death. Over time, browsers completely removed compatibility for the software. Eventually, Adobe announced that it would no longer support the software from January 1st, 2021. The platform has had quite an adventurous journey over the years. This article will cover Adobe Flash Player’s exponential rise and steady downfall over the years. Let us begin.

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Can You Still Use Flash Player?

Even though the software has been discontinued and is officially no longer supported, there are numerous ways by which users can use it. Hence, if you need to use the software to view and interact with legacy content, you can do so by following different methods. For instance, if you are a Windows user, you can use Flash Player by downgrading to a version of any browser that still supports the software. Similarly, macOS users can access Flash Player for the web by enabling the built-in Chrome extension. Furthermore, macOS users can also update the plugin by following a few simple steps.

The Beginning and Rise of Flash Player:

Companies and organizations were consistently striving to develop multimedia tools in the 1990s to dominate the market. Some of the first multimedia-enhancing tools included Macromedia’s Shockwave and Apple’s Hypercard. These tools worked well for distributing content via CD-ROMs, but the rate at which the Internet was growing required tools that could provide the same features online. A company called FutureWave Software introduced Shockwave’s first proper competitor called FutureSplash Animator. The software allowed users to create illustrations and vectors that did not demand much data. The software became so popular that it was used by major websites such as MSN and Disney. In December 1996, Macromedia acquired FutureWave Software and changed the software’s branding to Macromedia Flash.

Over the years, the software gained so much popularity that it caught the eye of Adobe, one of the leading companies in the industry. Adobe brought the software and added it to its own “Creative Suite.” In no time, Flash became the ultimate platform for showcasing rich multimedia content on the Internet, primarily because HTML did not support video-based content. Another major contributing factor to Flash’s success was that it was compatible with all major computer operating systems. It quickly became the go-to solution for companies to display content on the web.

The Downfall and Death of Adobe Flash Player:

One of the earliest instances that became a stepping-stone in the software’s downfall was its non-successful integration with Apple’s iPhones. The software did not work well with mobile phones, especially the iPhones, so Flash was not supported on iPhones. For this reason, YouTube, the startup which had adopted the software for showcasing content on its platform, developed an application that did not require using the Flash Player.

Another blow came for the platform when the then-CEO and founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, penned a letter that stated why he did not allow the integration of the Flash Player in his company’s iPhones. He stated various reasons for this decision, such as unreliable security, downgraded performance, and a negative impact on the phone’s battery. All went downhill for the Flash Player from here. YouTube abstained from using Flash Player for its web version and decided to experiment by using an HTML5-based website in 2010.

Malware and vulnerabilities started coming to the surface, out of which the Slayer malware was the most damaging to the platform’s reputation. Eventually, it became a common opinion that the Flash Player is problematic software. Slowly and steadily, browsers started removing the software’s plugins from their browsers. Finally, in 2017, Adobe announced that the company would discontinue the software after December 31st, 2020. The prior announcement before discontinuing support allowed developers to switch to different software, but sadly, most of them already had found other alternatives.

The Adobe Flash Player was a revolutionary software when it was first introduced, as it allowed netizens to view, experience, and interact with multimedia content of different forms. Now, the digital world has shifted to more secure forms of software and applications that are comparatively safer than the Flash Player.

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