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Summary:

It’s probably not the first site to eschew Flash in favor of greater compatibility with Apple’s portable devices, but it’s one that’s definitely big enough to make waves. Virgin America has launched a new, Flash-free website with the stated intent of reaching more customers on Apple’s […]

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It’s probably not the first site to eschew Flash in favor of greater compatibility with Apple’s portable devices, but it’s one that’s definitely big enough to make waves. Virgin America has launched a new, Flash-free website with the stated intent of reaching more customers on Apple’s devices, where Adobe’s rich web content application is not welcome.

Honestly, I think this is only the beginning of a new tide that will see corporations retreating away from either Adobe’s or Microsoft’s proprietary solutions for displaying animations and other advanced media elements in their websites. When the goal is to reach as many customers as possible, it only makes sense to take into account the limitations of some platforms. Flash may run on many portable non-Apple devices, but that doesn’t mean it does it well.

As reported by the Register, the decision to go with only HTML is about inclusion, even though the move by Apple that preceded it is all about exclusion:

Virgin picked HTML to give users of iPhones and other mobiles the option in the future of checking in through their phone. The battle between Adobe and Apple has seen Flash deliberately excluded from the Jesus Phone.

Virgin’s new site is designed to let users check-in using their mobiles, using a system that issues electronic boarding passes you’ll be able to show to airport security staff. The plan is awaiting approval by the U.S. Transportation Security Authority. The site is responsible for 70 percent of Virgin’s $100 million quarterly revenue. Right now it’s advanced enough to suit the company’s needs, but Virgin does anticipate making the jump to HTML5 once it’s cleared by the W3C.

Virgin America’s Chief Information Officer Ravi Simhambhatia added, in defense of the decision, that “[t]his year is going to be the year of the mobile [for Virgin].” The sentiment echoes Steve Jobs’ recent declaration that Apple is now a mobile device company first and foremost. There’s just no denying that if companies want to be taken seriously on the mobile scene, they need to take into account, if not focus on Apple’s iPhone, iPod touch, and the upcoming iPad.

The message is clear: Apple can succeed at stonewalling Adobe. The iPhone has been a massive success despite a lack of Flash support, and the iPad is poised to do the same when it launches late this month. Magazine companies aren’t happy about having to choose, but let’s be honest, print publications and their online components hardly hold the industry sway that they did 10 years ago. The death of Flash is coming, and Virgin is only the first harbinger of said death.

  1. Hurray! I am not a big fan of the motives behind Apple’s war with Adobe, but the sooner we can get lazy developers off of using flash as a crutch, the better.

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    1. I hate Flash, but I see an anti-trust suit coming from Adobe and being aimed at Apple.

      Remember the lawsuit filed against MS over them having MS Explorer loaded on PCs so only Explorer worked really well with Windows and Office Apps. And also having PC sellers getting Windows at a discount price if they left off Netscape and other browsers. MS had a Monopoly on the OS and shut out any app competition.

      This sort of parallels that lawsuit.

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    2. Adobe’s rich web content application is not welcome??

      not true.. http://www.udtek.com

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  2. There she goes…Good riddance :)

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  3. Yet another company that doesn’t care about the delivery method, but simply wants to provide content to users on all platforms. Naysayers can cry all they want that Apple is the bad guy, but Adobe is the one too lazy to have a current flash plug in work with 64 bit, have a flash “lite” that will only play content prior to 2005 and continues to be buggy.

    Anyone complaining about Apple’s “walled garden” has to toss Adobe in the same arena as their Plug in is 100% proprietary and continue to rely on the fact every IE bundle has flash bundled with it. They got lazy, plain and simple, now companies are moving on.

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  4. I hope more sites follow suite. Not only because of mobile devices but with I had click2flash on my macbook because Flash will kill my battery in 2 hours.

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  5. Good! Three cheers for Virgin America!!! Flash is just Adobe garbage- most of their stuff is a security nightmare- the sooner we rid the Web of it, the safer we will ALL be. The same to be said for Reader. Most of their products are poorly conceived; poorly coded; fit only for number crunching freaks who read the ENTIRE manual and live in their parent’s basement. Adobe- MUD HUT. Move out and into something civilized, thank you.

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  6. Sounds like a PR grab for headlines, since there’s nothing on the Virgin America site that warrants using Flash — with the exception of rich media ads, of which there are none on the site. Their designers can’t possibly have just discovered Javascript-powered sliding tabs?

    JetBlue, US Airways, Southwest Airlines, and AA had better put out similar PR releases, since they’re all also “Flash-free.”

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    1. For what it’s worth, the Southwest site (including their newly redesigned site) frequently makes use of a huge chunk of Flash with various forms overlayed on it…which wouldn’t work out so hot on a non-Flash device like the iPhone.

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    2. Playing Devil’s advocate here, Southwest also has an iphone app, so they can have flash on their normal website.

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  7. Just about every time I have a bad user experience on the web, it’s due to Flash. Good riddance to Flash.

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  8. This is not a true post… They are still utilizing Flash on their site

    http://www.virginamerica.com/va/travelInfo.do?pageName=routemap&rightBar=routemap_right_bar

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    1. I agree with Josh. Their route map is still using Flash.

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  9. As long as Vimeo gets on the ball and begins transcoding all of their current Flash user vids to HTML5, we’ll be happy campers.

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  10. [...] Virgin America Kills Flash as a Result of Apple/Adobe Conflict [...]

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