I’m a little irritated that all those preaching about Flash are ignoring the history — how we got here — so this is by way of filling that in.
There was a time when lots of browsers didn’t have Flash installed. On the downside, any attempt to use video was a crapshoot, and you might end up in the Pure Hell of the real.com website. Also, there were a lot fewer amusing lightweight games. On the upside, there were a lot fewer squirmy obtrusive ads.
Flash filled a real need; for a lightweight portable graphics programming environment, and for a ubiquitous reliable video codec. That, plus a lot of determined marketing by Adobe, got us to the status quo, where it’s assumed that every computer has a Flash player installed.
Does the need still exist? That’s an open question. I personally run with a Flash-blocker in my browser, and find this improves my experience of the Web. It seems unlikely to me that, in the mobile space, Adobe is going to be able to repeat their success in finding an unmet need, meeting it with Flash, and convincing everyone to ship their solution.
But, I could be wrong. Which is why I think that forbidding Adobe from even trying, as Apple’s doing, is short-sighted.
But then, a platform with a vendor who gets to decide what’s allowed to run is profoundly uninteresting to me anyhow.