Microsoft Follows Apple, Bans Flash From Windows 8 Tablet Software

no flash

Photo: Lee J Haywood via Flickr

Looks like Microsoft is following Apple once again.The Web browser in the tablet interface of Windows 8 won’t support plug-ins, according to a post yesterday by IE leader Dean Hachamovich.

That means it won’t run Flash.

The reasons are the same reasons Apple has refused to support Flash on the Web browsers on the iPad and iPhone. As Hachamovich wrote:

Running Metro style IE plug-in free improves battery life as well as security, reliability, and privacy for consumers. Plug-ins were important early on in the web’s history. But the web has come a long way since then with HTML5. Providing compatibility with legacy plug-in technologies would detract from, rather than improve, the consumer experience of browsing in the Metro style UI. 

That does not mean that Flash is out of Internet Explorer or Windows 8 entirely.

Windows 8 will be a two-in-one operating system. It will include the Metro touch-screen interface for tablets or other touch devices (Microsoft is talking up touch-enabled monitors, for instance). That’s what Microsoft is showing off at its Build developer conference this week.

But every copy of Windows will ALSO include a more traditional interface that’s meant to be used with a keyboard and mouse. It will look a lot like Windows 7, only updated.

The version of IE in that interface will still support plug-ins, presumably including Flash.

Still, it’s another blow for Adobe: Microsoft has basically agreed with Apple that Flash has no place in the post-PC future.

Update: Adobe put up a blog post addressing the issue. They note that Flash is still useful as a development environment for mobile platforms — games like Machinarium, which is the number-one paid app for iPad, are built using Flash, then ported to iOS with Adobe AIR. Adobe also notes that it is also a big supporter of HTML5.

The full response is here.

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