Steve Jobs was right: Flash Player has really come to an end

The old making way for the new. This is how life cycle works and in a sector such as the tech one where products life is really brief, this happens all the time. There are some products, however, that manage to last for a long time, until they reach a point where they can no longer keep up with new inventions and new technologies and are therefore doomed to die. That is the case of Flash Player, the Adobe plug-in that has kept us company for 25 years, allowing us to watch videos and play games on the web. 

Starting from 31 December 2020, it is no longer possible to download the program, and by 12 January 2021 all sites will block the display of Flash content. Some browsers have already discontinued their Flash support, others are doing so in these days. The manufacturer itself strongly recommended uninstalling the program, since without its support and the necessary updates, it could be a danger to the safety of users and their computers.

Flash Player held out for a long time, but it didn’t make it in the end. When it was first released in 1996, it represented a milestone in the web world, as it was what allowed us to watch videos and animations. In 2009 it was installed on 99% of computers with an internet connection. Its presence was essential to use sites at their best. Then came mobile devices, and it began to show signs of failure. In fact, since it was designed for old PCs, it struggled to adapt to new devices. Although the creators had made a Lite version, designed for tablets and smartphones, its performance was rather poor.

Another big point against Flash Player concerned the questionable security of its use on the data of millions of users. Over the years it has in fact repeatedly demonstrated many vulnerabilities in terms of security. Along with the updates, a series of bugs emerged that allowed hackers to spy on browser tabs, transmit fake content, and install malware on computers.

One of the first detractors of the plug-in was Steve Jobs, who announced that on Apple devices such as iPads and iPhones it would not be possible to use Flash Player. In 2010 he even wrote an open letter in which he reported the reasons that led Apple to believe that Flash Player was an inadequate, obsolete and insecure tool. These included the lack of security and privacy guaranteed by the program, the incompatibility with new devices that used touch technology and the enormous energy and system resources consumption necessary to make it work.

For some time now, most sites and platforms such as Netflix, Facebook and YouTube have been transmitting videos without using Flash Player, now supplanted by HTML5. Adobe itself, since the announcement of the end of Flash in 2017, has begun to encourage the use of the free software.

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