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I've mentioned a couple times already, given the recent flare-up in the discussion about iPad and iPhone not supporting Flash, that not so long ago you had a hard time using any browser other than IE6 because of another proprietary plugin -- Microsoft's ActiveX. Times change, though, and these days Firefox, Safari, and Chrome users seldom if ever come across the big red X. It's possible Flash and its blue lego block will soon be likewise optional on major sites.

Scobleizer draws the same analogy:

Let’s go back a few years to when Firefox was just coming on the scene. Remember that? I remember that it didn’t work with a ton of websites. Things like banks, e-commerce sites, and others. Why not? Because those sites were coded specifically for the dominant Internet Explorer back then.

Some people thought Firefox was going to fail because of these broken links. Just like Adobe is trying to say that Apple’s iPad is going to fail because of its own set of broken links.

But just a few years later and have you seen a site that doesn’t work on Firefox? I haven’t.

What happened? Firefox FORCED developers to get on board with the standards-based web.

The same thing is happening now, based on my talks with developers: they are not including Flash in their future web plans any longer.

I work in web development and just did a major site redesign for an international company. It went from a lot of Flash, to no Flash. Why? Marketing wanted a site that would be more easily viewed on BlackBerrys and iPhones.

Daring Fireball drives this home:

Flash is no longer ubiquitous. There’s a big difference between “everywhere” and “almost everywhere”. Adobe’s own statistics on Flash’s market penetration claim 99 percent penetration as of last month. That’s because, according to their survey methodology, they’re only counting “PCs” — which ignores the entire sort of devices which have brought about this debate. Adobe is arguing that Flash is installed on 99 percent of all web browsers that support Flash, not 99 percent of all web browsers.

Used to be you could argue that Flash, whatever its merits, delivered content to the entire audience you cared about. That’s no longer true, and Adobe’s Flash penetration is shrinking with each iPhone OS device Apple sells.