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I'm not sure about HTML 5, but before that there were a lot of things that HTML could not do. To fill in that void there were tools developed to fill this void such as Flash, java script, java, etc. I really believe that Flash became such a standard because it provided rich functionality that didn't exist else where. As far a cross platform support? Well there isn't a single technology that does that well. Different OS's function in inherently different ways. Until that changes I don't see flash, java, or any other technology being bullet proof on more than one platform.