Robert Cringely writes:
In all the world of computing and the Internet, what technology has the greatest market share and the most loyal upgraders? Is it Microsoft’s Windows operating system? Is it Sun’s Java programming language? No, it is Macromedia’s Flash web graphics software. Flash is installed on more computers than any other program. Not only does Flash have a market share that dwarfs Windows and Java, we upgrade relentlessly to new versions. Flash is huge, and Flash is a lot of the reason why Adobe Systems recently agreed to buy Macromedia, the home of Flash.
What’s key about Flash is not just that it is installed on nearly every computer in the world, and that its influence is extending now into mobile phones. What’s key is that we all upgrade to the latest version of Flash as a matter of course, making it the ideal Trojan horse program of all time.
Let’s say Adobe/Macromedia had some little bit of code – a VoIP client, for example — they wanted to bring to market. Just make it part of the next version of Flash. Over the course of a few months and practically without effort, that little program would be installed and ready to go in hundreds of millions of computers. Then all Adobe would have to do is to announce it and the service could be up and running practically overnight. That’s the kind of market clout that not even Microsoft has. And that’s what makes Macromedia a bargain for Adobe even at $3.4 billion.