Flash is growing up, moving from chintzy videos on the web to an infrastructure play. Adobe (ADBE) is making a whole bunch of announcements at IBC Thursday, including a partnership with Cisco (CSCO) to embed Flash Media Server 3 in the Cisco content delivery system, as well as support for the upcoming Adobe Media Player from everyone from Maven Networks to YuMe to VeriSign (VRSN) to Akamai (AKAM).
There are a number of subplots here. First of all, Adobe is squaring up against Microsoft (which released supposed Flash killer Silverlight on Wednesday). Second, Cisco is using Adobe to maneuver its own face-off against Microsoft. And don’t forget anything that encourages more video (especially high quality video) is good for Cisco, because it needs a huge amount of bandwidth and that needs Cisco gear.
“They share our vision of any stream to any screen,” Jim Guerard, Adobe’s vice president of dynamic media, said of Cisco. “Create this content once for the 10-foot experience, the 3-foot experience, and the 1-foot experience.” Starting in the fourth quarter of this year, customers of the Cisco CDS will be able to use it to bring Flash video to the PCs, TVs, and other digital devices they sell to consumers.
Adobe is also making a major push for the its upcoming (now aiming for the first quarter of next year) Adobe Media Player, signing everyone from video hosting to distribution to advertising as partners.
That includes deals with VeriSign/Kontiki and CacheLogic, key peer-to-peer alternatives to traditional content delivery networks, which should help bring P2P distribution mainstream. It’s not P2P being baked into Flash, but it’s close.
The full list of Adobe Media Player partners also includes Blip.tv, Brightcove, Maven Networks, Motionbox, Reality Digital, PointRoll, EyeWonder, Podbridge, YuMe, and Akamai. No customers have been named yet.
In late August, Adobe added support for the high-quality H.264 video compression standard to a test version of Flash.