FAQ: How Apple, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla will eliminate Adobe Flash

Here's what will happen to Flash Player on Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari between now and the end of 2020.

Adobe Flash player v10 icon
Adobe Systems

Last week, Adobe announced it would dig a deep hole for its Flash Player, drop in the plug-in, and cover it with dirt by the end of 2020. So will end a technology that, in many ways, made the Web -- even as users, security experts and browser makers took turns whacking it like a piñata at a six-year-old's birthday party.

"We will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020," Adobe said in a post to its primary blog. The long lead time, the company contended, will give content makers time to complete the transition to Web standards, like HTML5 and WebGL.

The end-of-the-line date is farther to the right on the timeline than one expert expected. Nearly six years ago, just after Adobe declared that it was halting Flash Player development for mobile browsers, Al Hilwa of Gartner predicted that Flash would "continue until 2014 or 2015, depending on how Windows 8 takes off and how touch-based interfaces compete against traditional desktop interfaces."

But the end will come. (Or as Hilwa put it in 2011, "Nothing lives forever.")

Because browsers have been the primary delivery vehicle for Flash content, how they handle the plug-in's demise will be important to users and content creators alike. Each of the top four browser makers -- Apple, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla -- have, to greater or lesser degrees, explained how they're going to sunset Flash.

And maybe, just maybe, take one last lunge at that piñata.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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