Windows 8 Kills Off Flash For Good?

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Microsoft join Apple to Kill Flash on the web:

You have to love the technology world. Why? Because it keeps you well and truly on your toes! Only the other day I wrote an article about how Adobe had pandered to Apple’s dislike of all things Flash and created a workaround that would allow Apple devices to show Flash video in particular.

Today, we hear that Microsoft Window’s much anticipated update to the Windows 7 series, Windows 8, will most likely kill off flash support, also signalling the perhaps timely death of the much used but often criticised format.

So what is happening with the new Windows update?

No Flash Windows 8
No Flash Windows 8

Similar to Apple, Microsoft appear to be dumping plug-ins contained within their Internet explorer 10 browser and the new “metro” style Windows 8 interface.

Windows 8 aims to be the all-in-one operating system for smartphones/tablets and PC’s.

The change is however quite intriguing and will mean that you will still be able to access content that needs plug-ins but users will have to revert back to the older desktop version to use them. So Windows 8 users who want to stick in the modern “metro” style interface will not be able to get Flash content on the plug-in free operating system…or is it that simple?

So what will provide the new user experience that so many people know and love if flash is to be dumped?…HTML5 to the rescue.

Yes for once Microsoft appear to be taking a leaf out of trend leaders books and not dragging their heels with new technology that is designed to enhance and speed up life for users of the internet.

Dean Hachamovtich has started in a Microsoft blog:

“For the web to move forward and for consumers to get the most out of touch-first browsing, the Metro style browser in Windows 8 is as HTML5-only as possible, and plug-in free, the experience that plug-ins provide today is not a good match with Metro style browsing and the modern HTML5 web.”

HTML 5 offered as a result of Apples precedent:

With many video hosting sites now offering an HTML 5 version of their video as a reaction to Apples refusal to budge on the Flash issue.
Microsoft has done research of its own and found that of the top 97,000 sites globally, 62% already offer a HTML5 version already.

So what happens if you visit a site that does not offer a HTML5 alternative?

Essentially it looks like you will be given an option to “Use Desktop View” and this will take you back to the traditional desktop so you can carry on and view as you would using Windows 7 etc.

Where does this leave Silverlight – Microsoft Flash competitor’s?

With silverlight being a tool/framework that could still be used by developers, will they incorporate this into their O/S?

I actually do not know the answer here but will be keeping a close ear to the ground on developments.

Will they eventually just build flash into their browser like Google?

It is unclear whether Microsoft have any plans to slightly mislead people by building the Flash application into their browser and thus avoid the term “plugin” as Google do with Chrome, but one of the other interesting areas is that they have “kind of” stated that they will support add-ons; those third party applications that can make the user experience more tailored to the individual….but only on the desktop version…

Steven Sinofksy, president of Windows and Windows Live has said:

“In Windows 8, IE 10 is available as a Metro style app and as a desktop app. The desktop app continues to fully support all plug-ins and extensions.”

So there is some confusion if there will be an add-on supported Metro interface, though it appears only the desktop version/option looks probable from the above words.

All these changes look likely to go some way to improving the speed and perhaps the security of the Microsoft browser and operating systems, something that they have seriously suffered with over many years.

Adobe to suffer?

If the metro style interface is shown as the default medium to interact using Windows 8, then Adobe could be in serious trouble in relation to Flash.

Do you think this move by Microsoft will be the nail in the coffin for flash as we know it and if so do you think it is deserved? Or do you think Microsoft will renege on their slightly unclear statements and incorporate flash into their browser, carrying on it’s large scale use and lifespan?

Anthony Munns