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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.

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  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.

    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.

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

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

  2. There she goes…Good riddance :)

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.”

    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.

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

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

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

  8. 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.

  9. Flash Optin Personal Use | Wednesday, March 3, 2010

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

  10. The new Virgin America site crashes Safari on my iPhone 3Gs and most importantly isn’t very friendly to view on a mobile device anyway. You cry babies talking about “lazy” web developers using flash are complete hypocrites, its lazy to not have a mobile version of your site. What, Richard Branson doesn’t have enough money to have one created? Come on.

  11. I, for one, am thrilled about this. Flash discriminates against people with disabilities — shouldn’t that be illegal? This is outlined a little bit on this website: http://www.flashsucks.org

  12. I have no idea how to make websites however because of flash I was able to built a very professional looking website.
    take a look http://www.canecreek.co.uk
    Apple are the bad guys here.

    1. Are you trolling? Cos I wouldn’t be proud of that.

    2. I would call that a great example…of why Flash is bad. Thanks for posting. I think that helps Apple’s cause.

    3. A long time ago Flash was a tool used to make web sites more dynamic and I don’t know in what moment in time it became the whole web experience. Remember those moments when if flash failed you wouldn’t see a menu or somthing, but… you could still see the information on the site. Now no flash is the same as having no browser. Flash became the reason we needed Hi-speed internet in the first place. HTML Website 3 mb average (with well managed graphics) Flash Website 10 mb come on people do you really need your logo to spin and dance to the music?

  13. i agree with everyone else, i’ve never liked clunky flash and if this is the end of it good riddance

    i have been forced to use adobe products (but i always avoided flash) since they swallowed aldus pagemaker!!

    my goodwill for adobe has been eroded by their microsoft attitude (yes, their un-apple style) in their products and their marketing

  14. Apple are like Pacino in the Devil’s Advocate, all about sly manipulation and temptation. They act all wholesome, but what good have they really done?

    You keep bagging Adobe for Flash, but its poor web developers that are the problem. You forget that introduction of Flash has pioneered interactivity and rich content on the internet. There isn’t a site on the net made using JavaScript or HTML5 that even comes close to the stuff Yugo Nakamura/Joshua Davis/Erik Natzke etc etc, was coming up with 10 years ago.

    This Virgin America site isn’t the beginning of any end for flash. They shouldn’t have used flash on this site to start with anyway.

  15. Flash is a real annoyance. Everywhere outside web apps and games, it is useless. Flash ads are annoying, Flash video can be replaced by HTML5 video.

  16. עורך דין פלילי Thursday, March 4, 2010

    just have to wait and see if steve’s ‘no more floppy’ agenda fits here.

  17. The problem I have with this development (i.e. the obsoletion of Flash) is that the newer, better technologies we keep hearing about will not be widely available (or functional) for years. Steve Jobs can toot HTML5’s horn all day long, but it comes off as pretty hollow when we probably won’t all be using HTML5 for another half-decade.

  18. Adobe CS3 Design Courses In Interactive Format Described | Mobile Phones Thursday, March 4, 2010

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

  19. Wrong. Why should the world downgrade to accommodate Apple’s devices? Just put Flash on the iPhone already…

    1. I agree. I use flash everyday. Much better then HTML tables. Except videos can anyone explain how you’ll make any website so rich with media. Pick any from thefwa.com and make in HTML 5 or whatever.

  20. huzzah!

    good riddance, flash.

  21. The Death of Flash | Chris Stenberg Friday, May 7, 2010

    [...] Virgin USA announced that it would discontinue the use of Flash on all of it’s websites including Virgin Airlines [...]

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    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.

  24. A long time ago Flash was a tool used to make web sites more dynamic and I don’t know in what moment in time it became the whole web experience. Remember those moments when if flash failed you wouldn’t see a menu or somthing, but… you could still see the information on the site. Now no flash is the same as having no browser. Flash became the reason we needed Hi-speed internet in the first place. HTML Website 3 mb average (with well managed graphics) Flash Website 10 mb come on people do you really need your logo to spin and dance to the music?

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