Since Macromedia Can't Beat 'Em, It Joins 'Em
By Eric Lin, Fri Aug 27 20:45:00 GMT 2004

Macromedia's efforts to get Flash into handsets are slow-going at best, so it has quietly purchased a company that makes tools to convert Flash content into Java.

Macromedia has been pushing manufacturers and carriers to adopt Flash for mobile devices. Hoping his relationships developed at previous posts would work to some advantage, it even hired former Symbian and Microsoft mobile device chief Juha Christensen to head up its mobile-device efforts. Since Christensen arrived Macromedia announced Flash Lite, but few have announced they would do anything with it. KDDI has included Flash Lite to enhance the browsing and UI experience on its latest handsets and T-Mobile has created a Flash-based news application for Series 60 devices. But the Flash Lite player still isn't available for public download, only for licensing by handset manufacturers and now evidently carriers.

Today Macromedia quietly acquired Animoi, a company that created a set of tools to convert Flash files into Java for playback on mobile devices (link thanks to MocoNews). The tools were expensive when sold through Ainmoi, especially the version which can handle advanced requests like SMS handling. If Macromedia incorporates these tools into its Flash environment or even sells them as less expensive add-ons, it will be a boon to Flash developers looking to move their content or their skills into the mobile world.

What's good for its developers should be good for Macromedia, but this is not an optimal situation for the company. By buying out Animoi it has basically admitted that efforts to get Flash (Lite) onto handsets have been less than successful. At the least, the Animoi tools are needed as an interim step until Flash Lite becomes more prevalent. However, if Macromedia's efforts continue to fall short, the company will have to concede that Flash is a mobile development environment but not a mobile content player.