Virgin America dumps Adobe’s Flash; company doesn’t want to exclude iPhone OS users

Apple Online Store “As Silicon Valley titans Apple and Adobe System deck it out over the weakness of Flash, one Valley-based outfit has put Adobe’s Flash in its place – and that place isn’t online,” Gavin Clarke reports for The Register. “Start-up airline Virgin America has decided HTML is ‘good enough’ for animating online content on its brand-new website, which went live Monday, dumping Flash.”

“It’s a move that does more than just show what happens to customers when there’s a clash of tech-industry egos,” Clarke reports. “It illustrates the options customers have between picking the closed Flash – or Silverlight from Microsoft – and open technologies such as HTML to serve content to a new generation of mobile computing devices.”

Clarke reports, “Virgin picked HTML to give users of iPhones and other mobiles the option in the future of checking in through their phone. Chief information officer (CTO) Ravi Simhambhatla told The Reg: ‘I don’t want to cater to one hardware or one software platform one way to another, and Flash eliminates iPhone users. This year is going to be the year of the mobile [for Virgin].'”

Clarke reports, “Virgin anticipates moving this new site to HTML 5, once it’s cleared standards ratification at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Smart companies don’t exclude potential customers who have the most disposable income. You want to cater to the type of people who buy PCs based on lowest possible sticker price and are much more likely to steal software, music, and movies? Or do you want customers who have been proven to spend money for quality, who understand true value, and who are much more likely to pay for software, music and movies? Your choice.

Please see:
• iPhone owners more likely to pay for digital content – November 26, 2009
• Apple iPhone users buy many more apps, surf the Web much more than other ‘smartphone’ users – March 27, 2009
• NPD: Mac users significantly more likely to pay for music than Windows PC owners [updated] – December 19, 2007
Study shows iPod owners significantly less likely to steal music than the average person – January 13, 2006

Help kill Adobe’s Flash:
• Contact Hulu and ask them to offer HTML5 video via email:
• Ask ESPN360 to offer HTML5 video instead Flash via their feedback page here.
• Join YouTube’s HTML5 beta here.
• On Vimeo, click the “Switch to HTML5 player” link below any video.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dirty Pierre le Punk” for the heads up.]


  1. Shame that our choices are things that are ‘good enough’ to be alternatives to Flash animation, rather than better than. I’d still like to see Flash in a scalable form that either has an alternative means of dealing with mouse-overs (maybe an on-screen pointer with a little area of the screen designated for mouse control, or has mouse-over animations turned off or button or hot-point activated).

    For all it’s problems, Flash has its uses and advantages, and there’s a whole host of valuable legacy content that will never be remade in HTML or some other animator.

  2. Slow and painful pin pricks that draw little blood.

    However, the blood is straying to flow for flash. Adobe should start investing heavy in their software products, let flash go!

    More blood from Apples multitouch iPhone!

  3. HTML5 video from YouTube etc looks like total crap in my Safari browser. It’s worse than Flash. Somehow, Firefox manages to play both just fine. I really don’t care for Firefox though.

  4. Yet another great waste of advertising dollars. This is almost as dumb as Sony advertising the Vaio on MDN last summer. Look to the right on the MDN page and you’ll see a Google Nexus 1 ad. (…. ?!) If you don’t see it, just refresh a couple of times, it’ll show. Amazing…..

  5. I would say a good thing to do here would to be, if you want to browse Virgin America’s website, do it through your iPhone. Let’s show support to VA in making this move buy giving it our web traffic. You know people are looking at the web stats of who visited their page and with what browser/OS. Let’s thank them for making the right/smart decision.

  6. Safari runs like a dog on my Mac if I have more than a few sites open – I get spinning beachballs so frequently I tear my hair out sometimes… Inevitably I get a message saying that a flash script is causing problems and do I want to stop it…

    I use Adobe products for film editing (in addition to Final Cut Pro). Apart from the non-Apple user interface and the cluttered screens, Adobe products seem to take forever to install, forever to load and consume resources like no other apps. If I could replace Adobe altogether I would – and one day I am sure I will be able to. I look forward to that day with the same anticipation as the day I ditched Office for iWork…

    Now if only iChat supported MSN with video…

  7. @MDN Take
    Not all Windows PC users steal software, music, and movies. Nor do all Mac users pay for software, music and movies.

    I love Macs and other Apple products, although they do have flaws and can always be improved. But the snarky elitism in some of the MDN Takes has gotten more than a bit old. Frankly, it smacks of the mindless fanaticism that gives Apple products a bad name in some circles.

    I have switched a number of people to Macs by letting the Mac speak for itself. I don’t force Macs on people because the Mac is not for everyone. Long time Windows users have to be interested and willing to adapt before they are good candidates. One bad experience from someone pushed into buying a Mac can turn dozens of potential switchers away.

    It took my mother-in-law thirteen years to switch, during which time I helped her to purchase several PCs. A couple of years ago she came to me, pointed to my 24″ iMac and said, “I want one of those!” She has been much happier since then.

  8. KingMel,

    You’re taking MDN take literally. The point they’re trying to make is that average disposable income of a Mac user is significantly higher than average disposable income of a Windows user. Also, average percentage of paid vs. pirated music, movies and software on a Mac is significantly higher than on a Windows computer. Nowhere did MDN say that all PC users steal music and software, and are dirt poor, nor did they say that every Mac user is filthy rich (I only wish!).

    Making a Mac-compatible (and now iPhone-compatible) web content is a very smart investment. While the absolute user base of the platform still has to approach 10% (even in the US, not to mention globally), the relative value of those Mac users to online businesses is significantly higher than their actual market share. For that reason, any smart business should be smart enough to invest in re-engineering their web content for best performance on Apple devices.

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