Adobe has announced it is to axe its Flash Player, confirming the long-awaited end of a once essential piece of software.
In a short blog post on Wednesday, the software giant announced that it was planning to “end-of-life” the once-ubiquitous plugin by 2020.
It will be replaced by more open standards such as HTML5, which provides many of the same functions as Flash but does not require users to install a specific plugin.
Adobe will be working with tech leaders like Facebook, Apple and Google to encourage creators to make the move to the new software. The companies announced their support for Adobe’s move in separate blog posts.
“For 20 years, Flash has helped shape the way that you play games, watch videos and run applications on the web. But over the last few years, Flash has become less common,” Google said, adding that open-web technologies were faster and more power efficient than Flash.
Essential for powering videos, games and other multimedia content since the early 2000s, the popularity of Flash has declined dramatically in recent years.
The software has been plagued by security concerns, as hackers have used it as a vehicle to download malware.
As a result many companies have distanced themselves from the product.
Apple didn’t support the software on its iOS devices, and both Chrome and Safari now tend to request permission every time a site requires Flash.
In 2014, 80% of Chrome users were visiting Flash sites, but Google says that figure has now dropped to 17% and is still declining.
Tech commentators welcomed the final demise of the plugin. For many, “finally” was the only response to the news.
In its blog post, Adobe detailed a gradual phase-out.
It will stop updating and distributing Flash by 2020, but will continue to support Flash where it is being used on operating systems and browsers in the coming years.