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The End of the Flash Era

This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Felix Richter

Having long been considered a performance-hampering security risk, one of the technologies that shaped the face of the world wide web for the past two decades is quietly saying goodbye this week. On January 12, 2021, Adobe will officially pull the plug on Flash, blocking Flash content from running in Flash Player after having phased out support for it on December 31.

“Open standards such as HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly have continually matured over the years and serve as viable alternatives for Flash content,” Adobe writes on its website explaining the step that was pre-announced as early as July 2017. “Also, major browser vendors are integrating these open standards into their browsers and deprecating most other plug-ins (like Flash Player).”

As the following chart, based on data from W3Techs, a website tracking web technology, shows, Flash has been slowly vanishing from the web over the past few years. While almost 3 in 10 websites used Flash content in 2011, that share had dropped to 2.2 percent by January 2021.

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