Flash's challenges: Microsoft, mobile phones and markups

Adobe claims that 70 percent of Web video today is in the Flash (.flv) format.

Heading into the Lite

Besides Microsoft, Adobe's other challenge is promoting the cut-down Flash Lite player on mobile phones and other handheld devices. That would enable Adobe to sell more design and content-creation tools to mobile software and video developers.

So far, more than 300 million phones have shipped with Flash Lite, Adobe said. It hopes to see 1 billion phones with Flash Lite by the year 2010.

But mobile developers still have difficulty making money with Flash, Swenson said, because of the constant turnover in cell phone models and a lack of support from phone makers.

Developers feel "there are huge roadblocks to getting their apps on phones," said Swenson. "It's a little more open than Apple's iPhone, but not much more."

Adobe's mobile business remains tiny, accounting for just US$13 million in revenue for its most recent quarter, or less than 2 percent of Adobe's overall revenue.

Lynch acknowledged that getting Flash onto handsets "requires individual work with device makers and carriers."

"Flash runs great on higher-end phones. We want it to run on a great majority of phones," he said.

Chizen declined to comment on rumors that Apple Inc. plans to license Flash for use on its iPhone. He did say the iPhone "gets criticized" for the lack of Flash and claimed that competing handset makers are adding Flash in order to get a market advantage.

"You can probably suspect that a lot of people who are making non-PC devices are knocking on our door," he said.

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Eric Lai

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