Adobe Flash lives in Windows 8 to die another day

Adobe Flash lives in Windows 8 to die another day

Summary: Microsoft's forthcoming operating system Windows 8 will support Flash. Finally, a selling point for the tablet. While it's not exactly "full fat" Flash, it could keep the add-on in play for years to come.

TOPICS: Windows

If you thought Flash was "dead", think again.

Despite the company's bid to move Flash away from mobile browsers, the popular Web browser plug-in still reigns as one of the most important additions to the desktop browsing experience.

Flash seemingly remains at the discretion of companies like Microsoft and Google to include it in their browsers. For Microsoft's next round, the company badly wanted Flash to be a core part of the Windows 8 experience.

Crucially: why?

A leaked memo from Adobe's Danny Winokur shows how close the partnership is between Microsoft and Adobe to bring Flash support to Windows 8, reports The Verge.

Responding to rumours that Adobe licensed Flash code to Microsoft, Winokur says this is "not the case." He said Microsoft's customer feedback showed strong support for Flash as part of the Metro style browsing experience, and invited Adobe to lend a hand.

"We have been working closely with Microsoft to ensure a great Flash experience in Windows 8 and recently finalized an agreement that is the basis for today’s release. Our work together has to a large degree focused on integrating Flash Player into Metro style IE10 with special privileges that enable it to run while other plugins still cannot (consistent with Microsoft’s earlier announcements about plugin-free browsing).

We did this work with their support and cooperation on integrating with IE and Windows. We will deliver future updates to the Flash Player (both security and feature upgrades) through Windows Update in much the same way that Microsoft updates IE itself."

For Microsoft to update third-party software plug-in like Flash through Windows Update is a rare move for the software giant, which again shows how crucial the tight Flash--IE10 integration was.

Windows 8 is split between the desktop and the tablet. It's proportionally weighted towards the desktop but Microsoft wants to chip in to the tablet market --- anything to get a one-up over their Cupertino rivals.

Currently, the only tablet that runs Flash is the BlackBerry Playbook. BlackBerry 10 will have Flash, but it is maintained by Research in Motion independently of Adobe. The iPad does not support Flash, nor will an iOS product likely ever.

Android has a basic-level of Flash integration in its legacy browser, but is being phased out in favour of a mobile version of Chrome that does not support Flash. It's possible that Android "Jelly Bean" will remove Flash support in the legacy browser in favour of mobile Chrome, which should be out of beta by that point. It all depends on which default browser Google will choose in the forthcoming Android release.

With this, Windows 8 will now support Flash. That is a huge selling point for Flash developers, legacy application makers, and those stuck using Flash elements in older enterprise Web applications.

There's nothing more depressing than a Flash-generated pie chart in this day and age.

Having said that, ZDNet's Ed Bott explains:

"That doesn’t mean you can go to any Flash-powered site and expect it to work. Microsoft is carefully curating the whitelist of apps that can use Flash Player in the Metro style browser and applying it via its own compatibility settings."

Bott notes the "obvious addition" is YouTube, which previously did not work on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. The day Google-owned YouTube ceases to support Flash is the day we know the once-loved Web plug-in is off to meet its maker.

I doubt whether Flash integration will make enterprises or business users jump faster at Windows 8-powered tablets. Additions like Office and all the usual trimmings will keep the tablet churning over, but analysts have already warned that Windows 8 may not get out the door as fast as they would like. If that's the case, it could leave a chunk out of Microsoft's Christmas holiday sales.


Topic: Windows

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  • Adobe Flash lives in Windows 8 to die another day

    It has to be more stable than the flash that's built into Chrome. That is just an unstable mess.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Flash in Chrome unstable?

      Not my experience I have to say. I use Chrome as my home primary browser and Flash just works.
      • Yes its very unstable

        Several people I know have flash issues with chrome.
        Loverock Davidson-
      • Adobe Flash

        Flash works for you be happy. :)

        Its Loverocks Modus operandi, to create issues where there are none.

        Flash runs fine with Chrome using Windows XP,Vista,7 and Linux.

    • More idiocy from the m0ron

      • Adobe Flash

        You are not allowed to call someone names.

        He now has people /LOL
      • He now has people?

        He does??

        Oh my goodness!

  • Can we disable and uniinstall it?

    Thats still what I'd like to do.
    Johnny Vegas
    • If it isn't a "plug-in", than uninstalling Flash would not be an option.

      If Flash is an integral part of the IE browser code base (and I suspect it is) than why would you wish to "uninstall" Flash? (Are you concerned about it's reputation as a malware enabler? Is it because Flash gets "corrupted" over time? I really don't know the answer to that question. But if it did, than your wish for an option to disable, uninstall or, by implication, reinstall when needed, makes sense.)
      • Re:

        Where malware is concerned, if MS was to keep a whitelist of approved flash-run sites built into IE metro then I imagine the problem would be much better handled.
    • Yes

      You can disable the flash plug in the same way you would disable a plugin in IE9

      Tools -> Manage addons -> Toolbars and Extensions
    • Re:

      Can you justify why?
  • Windows 8: Windows Update vs. Microsoft Update

    Quoted in the article:
    [i]We will deliver future updates to the Flash Player (both security and feature upgrades) through Windows Update in much the same way that Microsoft updates IE itself.[/i]

    Expect more Microsoft out-of-band security updates (for Flash Player) in the future. If not, Microsoft risks repeating Apple's mistake of including web browser plug-ins by default on earlier releases of OS X.

    Why not just include Flash Player in Microsoft's Windows 8 app store? Won't the app store keeps apps updated? This gives users a choice of whether or not they install Flash Player on their systems, but still protects those who do by providing prompt security updates.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • probably a win-win situation for both MSFT and ADBE

      Adobe wants flash to sell. Microsoft doesn't want to loose its corporate market. I have seen a good number of enterprises use Flash to power their BI Dashboards. Once Microsoft takes the codebase of Flash and curates it, we can guess the malware issues would be addressed more faster than what Adobe is doing right now. And since it is part of IE10, it will be given permissions to run within the sandbox. In addition to security, it could be optimized codewise to give better performance. And if it as a flashplayer standalone, then you will encounter slower malware fixes, could be called outside of sandbox, slower performance because it would be a band-aid on top of a host such as browser etc., IMHO.
      Ram U
      • Re:

        Well said, thank you.
  • HTML5 is not yet mature...

    And even when it is, developers still have to adopt and build out the
    Infrastructure. Silver light never matured. Flash is still it for a year or more.
  • The Microsoft way, again

    The most insecure browser plugin running with special privileges in a plugin-less browser. The perfect example of Microsoft lunacy.

    We were supposed to see clean WinRT environment, yet it turns out Windows RT will include the vulnerable win32 DLLs, but only for "internal use". Now, the plugin-less browser has got itself an Flash plugin. Wonder when Microsoft will learn to not promise things they cannot deliver. Or at least not talk out loud their pipe dreams.
  • Depressed by the sight of Flash pie charts? Is this some kind of new pathology?

    "Theres nothing more depressing than a Flash-generated pie chart in this day and age."

    Really: nothing more depressing, not even global warming!? Why the hate? Do Flash charts hurt the eye in some way ? Did this writer get some psychological trauma by looking at too much Flash movies when he was a kid?

    On the other hand, it is easy tro explain why someone would prefer to develop a chart-application with Flash rather than with HTML5 and canvas : more graphic possibilities, compatibility with older browsers (matters in the enterprise), and less developpement-time. With Canvas, you even have to hack in order to display multiline text! (among other examples : they really did cut a lot of corners.) Sure, you can do a lot with Canvas if you have enough time to tweak its shrortcomings. But in the real world, budget is important.

    Now a question. Why does Youtube on Windows 8 need Flash as implied in this article? I always heard Youtube was HTML5-compatible (even if Youtube defaults to Flash because the plugin is more performant: HTML5-video is not even capable of true streaming... one more shortcoming of this wonderful standard). Besides, the website works on my iPad. So, this is not a Youtube vs. HTML5 issue. Could it be that the support of HTML5 is weak in Metro?
    • HTML5 Video works fine in YouTube Metro

      append &webM=1 to the querystring. However, it defaults to Adobe Flash. I'm assuming that YouTube has an order of preference for Flash then HTML5 (using HTML5 "fall through" markup, the markup instructs the browser to try Flash first then if not installed fail to the HTML5 player)
      • So, what was Zack trying to say?

        So, the part of the article saying that Windows 8 needs Flash because Youtube needs Flash is nonsense. Could someone explain what the writer was trying to say?