Adobe Won't Charge Users For Flash Player

Cringely writes today that Flash is the 'ideal Trojan horse program of all time' and it has been a worry of mine for some time that Macromedia might start to charge users for the Flash Player (in the form of a bundled unwanted download). I think the point Cringely misses here though is that Adobe already has massive desktop presence and can do a pretty good job of forcing unwanted applications down users' throats already. So they don't need to use Macromedia for that project. That's why I was happy that it was Adobe that purchased Macromedia and not say, Yahoo. By the way, the unwanted application of the day is "Yahoo Toolbar", which I haven't used, but I'm sure it can't be much good if has to sneak onto people's systems bundled with something else.

And completely separately, I hate it when people write about Flash and call their article 'A Flash in the Pan'. Even I wouldn't do that.

Posted by Alexander at June 24, 2005 05:19 PM

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Hi, for what it's worth, it's difficult for me to visualize any payment program to download the Macromedia Flash Player, because the value from quick and widespread feature improvements on the world's computers seems to exceed any practical pricepoint which might be reached. Video is a great example. Maybe others can see things differently, but that's what it looks like from my little corner of the world.

But Macromedia is already "charging consumers", indirectly, in the mobile market -- with manufacturers quickly moving to provide core interface functionality via SWF, there's a competitive disadvantage in offering a SWF-incapable phone. Manufacturers make the purchase agreement here, and consumers then make decisions to purchase these richer devices.

(If you've got a toolbar and are not sure how, then are you using Internet Explorer for Windows? I haven't heard of people being surprised by Firefox offers yet, or other browsers... most of that toolbar action seems to happen for the IE/Win audience.)

two-cents, your-mileage-may-vary etc, jd/mm

Posted by: John Dowdell at June 24, 2005 07:44 PM

I agree that there's no way to charge desktop users directly for a Flash Player - but costs aren't necessarily monetary - the cost might be in accepting the installation of bundled software and/or taking the time to remove it.

This kind of cost is often incurred with 'free' software. Real Networks used this technique a lot and just managed to generate a lot bad feeling, and damaged their platform.


Posted by: Alexander McCabe at June 24, 2005 08:28 PM

Understood, the user experience of a download can become a real cost, and so any actual effects do need to be assiduously tracked.


Posted by: John Dowdell at June 24, 2005 08:44 PM