The day Apple won the Flash fight

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Adobe announced its new Flash Media Server 4.5 late Thursday afternoon, and it’s an iteration Apple device owners should be very happy about. For the first time, Flash Media Server now enables same-source video delivery to both Apple devices and Adobe Flash-compatible destinations. Basically, Adobe is acknowledging Apple has won when it comes to Flash.

The new version of Flash Media Server will repackage content automatically for Apple’s mobile products, which lack Flash support, and implement HTTP Dynamic Streaming or HTTP Live Streaming, both of which are compatible with iOS. In theory, that should allow iOS to have its cake and eat it too, meaning future Flash content will playback on iOS devices, without the slowdowns and battery drain that are part of what made the technology unappealing to Apple to begin with.

Basically, Adobe is making changes to Flash Media Server in order to once again make it an appealing option for video publishers, by serving their actual needs instead of struggling with Apple in an unproductive either/or relationship. It’s something Adobe has been doing across its product lineup lately, with its Flex and Flash Builder tools for apps, and also with the Adobe Digital Publishing suite for digital magazine publications.

Adobe will continue to offer Flash, of course, but this is a clear acknowledgement that different solutions are necessary for the growing category of mobile video, which is dominated by Apple devices. Apple called this future, refused to waver, and now Adobe is wisely bending in response in order to remain relevant. While this is incontestably a win for Apple, it’s also a big step forward for Adobe, since now content producers and publishers won’t have to look elsewhere in order to serve the entire mobile market.

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