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Why Adobe Flash penetration is more like 50% than 99% (samj.net)
15 points by timf on Feb 23, 2009 | hide | past | favorite | 21 comments

"99.0% of Internet-enabled desktops in mature markets as well as a wide range of devices."

Seems pretty clear to me, they separate 'desktops' (which I can buy is close to 99%) from other devices.

The copy on the Adobe site is written for a target audience. Those folks ask: "Yeah, but do customers of my clients have installed Flash?", "Uh, they proposed a solution working with Flash, can we do that?" or "Can we use Flash?". And the answer is clear: Yes, you can! Everyone who doesn't live on the other side of the moon uses Flash!

Note to my fellow programmers: normal people read numbers like words. Depending on the context, a number represents a word to them like "Totally!" or "You must!" or "Everyone!" or "Just Now!" and so on. I know, it's irrational, but that's why the advertisers use those numbers. (Use humor in life, it's better that way :-))

This is a BS article in my opinion. They say 99% of internet connected desktops. They said nothing about mobile, but his entire argument is mobile. What is the percentage of ppl who use their phones for actual web surfing? Much smaller than he would like you to believe in this article.

Even in their old copy they say internet-enabled PC's. So until adobe says 99% of internet users, then their claim has validity...

More flash hate...

I do use my iPhone for actual web surfing, but I use my laptop about 20 times more, so I'd say that equals about 95% Flash coverage.

I posted this at the original blog entry, but his Preview and CAPTCHA didn't seem to work correctly in my Firefox 3....


<p>Hi Sam, so, if we changed that old headline to reflect the bodytext's "Internet-enabled desktops", would you be satisfied then?

<p>These consumer audits have been going on for a <a href="http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.macromedia.com/softw... long time</a>, and now that North Americans have their first acceptable mobile web device it could well be time to help remove something they might find confusing.

<p>(btw, be careful on "native web application", because you need to break it down with some <a href="http://a.deveria.com/caniuse/#agents=All&alts=p&cats... granularity</a> to find exactly what that term means.)


Is a desktop a desktop computer[1] or the desktop metaphor[2]? Anyway maybe a real world test of active Internet users (e.g. daily or weekly) would be more interesting than a survey (if less flattering).

You previously claimed[3] that "Sometimes multiple implementations are useful, but the unique value in SWF (and, to a lesser extent, PDF) is in the predictability of its rendering." PDF's far from dead so maybe now's a good time to open up the player side of Flash a bit. Otherwise you may well find an increasingly large percentage of the tens of millions of netbooks built each year shipping without it.


1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desktop_computer 2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desktop_metaphor 3. http://scobleizer.com/2007/07/06/apple-working-on-adobe-flas...

Attempting to synopsize the core concern again: "So, if we changed that old headline to reflect the bodytext's 'Internet-enabled desktops', would you be satisfied then?"

tx, jd/adobe

Sam, you've got Google Analytics installed on your blog, why not look there for your own survey?

I just did and about 5% of my (tech savvy) users don't have Flash, but then again more than half of them use Firefox and less than 15% are on IE so not particularly representative.

He also speaks to Flash/RIA being a dying art, but I wonder what would be harder for the user: installing one of the RIA plugins, or upgrading your entire browser to support HTML5? I reckon the latter, and the penetration rates for HTML5 will be solely be dependent on existing Flash/social sites like Youtube, Vimeo, etc making the switch themselves.

35 million netbooks will ship this year, and that's set to rise to 139 million by 2013[1]. Say some of the main models were to ship with Android[2], or even a webkit-based or Firefox 3.1 (coming soon[3]) browser... then imagine that sites like Facebook and YouTube were to start serving up the VIDEO tag to compatible user agents. All of a sudden there is a lot less incentive to fight with binary flash plugins (when everything else is open source).

This could well happen virtually overnight.


1. http://www.abiresearch.com/press/1355-35+Million+Netbook+Shi... 2. http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2009/02/asus-developing.html 3. https://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox3.1/Schedule

"Internet-enabled devices in mature markets" doesn't include mobile, and as far as I can tell doesn't pretend to. So this article is essentially arguing against a claim Adobe never makes. Seems like sort of a made up gripe to me.

For the vast majority of people looking at that claim the message is "Flash content reaches 99.0% of Internet viewers".


The vast majority of people looking at that claim probably wouldn't include mobile devices in Internet viewers anyway. What kind of Flash content producer would say "oh, it's Flash, so it has high penetration among mobile devices, good"? If you want to reach mobile devices, you target them. It's implicit that we're talking about desktops here.

Everyone likes a good demo so check out my follow up post 'Towards a Flash free YouTube killer...'


1. http://samj.net/2009/02/towards-flash-free-youtube-killer-wa...

Adobe is it's own worst enemy.

Turns out, to install CS3 you have to uninstall Flash. Their own products hate each other.

i didn't have to uninstall anything when i installed CS3.

That's kind of like saying "I went to Afghanistan and I didn't get my head cut off."

Adobe has horrible installers which break frequently. Just google for "CS3 install problem" and you'll see what I mean.

Believe me, I am quite familiar with cs3 install issues :( Their installers are horrible. But the comment I was replying to stated as fact that everyone has to uninstall Flash before installing CS3, which (as my data point shows) is not universally true.

To extend your analogy, the original comment is like saying: "If you go to Afghanistan, you will get your head cut off."

well the main target group of flash is the likes of the target group that uses YouTube.

So defacto their numbers are good enough IMHO

They do inflate their numbers a bit.

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