Just like Mobile Safari on iPad/iPhone, Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 Tablet won’t Support Flash
All iPad and iPhone owners are very much aware that Mobile Safari does not support Flash, and never will– according to Apple, Flash is simply too resources-hungry to be allowed to run on any mobile device.
And while most ‘Apple-haters’ were convinced that the reasons put forward by the Cupertino-based company were nothing more than propaganda, as it turns out, Microsoft came to the same conclusion as Apple. In other words, Steve Jobs and his team were not that biased after all.
Via a post on the Building Windows 8 blog, Dean Hachamovithch, the head of the Internet Explorer team, and Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows division, both confirmed that the ‘metro’ version of Internet Explorer 10 that will end up in Windows 8 Tablet will not support Flash (or any other plugins for that matter). And just like Apple, the company is now betting on standard-based alternatives, namely HTML5.
This post is about a big change in Metro style IE, which is the plug-in free experience. 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. The HTML5 and script engines are identical and you can easily switch between the different frame windows if you’d like.
A previous IE blog post discussed how plug-in free sites are becoming more mainstream, and what sites can do to run plug-in free. We examined the use of plug-ins across the top 97,000 sites world-wide, a corpus which includes local sites outside the US in significant depth. Many of the 62% of these sites that currently use Adobe Flash already fall back to HTML5 video in the absence of plug-in support. When serving ads in the absence of plug-ins, most sites already perform the equivalent of this fallback, showing that this approach is practical and scalable. There’s a steep drop-off in plug-in usage after Flash, with one control used on 2% of sites and a small collection of controls used on between 0.5% and 0.75% of sites.
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.
Even though Microsoft cautiously avoids pointing fingers at Adobe, it is clear that just like Apple, Microsoft believes that the use of HTML5 over Flash offers a better battery life, and avoids potential security and privacy issues.
This news shouldn’t surprise anybody, as Windows Phone 7 does not support Flash either. Microsoft joined Apple on the HTML5 front– considered by some to be the “Flash killer”, the upcoming standard provides many new native features such as bitmap manipulation (canvas), geo-location, much more freedom for developers to run local apps/runtimes via the browser (web workers, websockets…), and most importantly, native support for video.
[Post updated at 11:11AM Central to better reflect that this news applies to the mobile/metro/ARM version of Internet Explorer 10]