Since its inception in 1996, Adobe Flash Player has become a quasi-standard for the display of video content on the web. It was initially developed by Macromedia, which was purchased by Adobe in 2005. Flash Player is often used to display videos, games, and advertisements.
Adobe Flash Player is available for many platforms and browsers, including Windows, MacOS X, Linux, and several mobile device operating systems such as Android. It is not available within the browser on Apple's iOS mobile devices (iPhone, iPad), where Apple disallows it citing security and stability reasons.
On Windows, there are two separately available editions of Adobe Flash Player. One, called Adobe Flash Player ActiveX, is only for the use within Microsoft Internet Explorer, while the other, Adobe Flash Player Plugin, is for the use in other browsers such as Mozilla Firefox. No additional installation is necessary for Google Chrome which includes its own edition maintained by Google.
Adobe Flash player is still an essential part of today's web browsing experience. Without it, many videos and games cannot be displayed in the browser. However, with the advent of HTML5, Adobe Flash is in decline. Adobe announced the end of Flash for mobile devices in late 2011. Due to its history of security and stability problems, users on the desktop are still encouraged to always update to the latest version.