Adobe’s Flash ecosystem experienced a fresh blow as Microsoft announced that the firm’s Metro UI in Windows 8, built on web technologies, will not support plug-ins.
Microsoft announced that the Metro UI would be a ‘plug-in free HTML5’ in a new Building Windows 8 blog post, effectively locking out Adobe’s web media veteran Flash technology from not only Apple iOS but the upcoming Windows 8 as well.
"Running Metro style IE plug-in free improves battery life as well as security, reliability, and privacy for consumers," wrote Microsoft’s IE team lead Dean Hachamovitch, adding that the web had come a ‘long way’ and that "legacy plug-in technologies would detract from, rather than improve" the user experience.
Users will still be able to run browser sessions with plug-ins, presumably including Flash, but this will be an instance of the browser and not the built-in Metro UI.
Ordinarily one might assume that Microsoft’s move was aimed purely at ensuring a continuity of interface experience in the new Windows 8 rather than an anti-Flash move itself but Hachamovitch was unequivocal in describing the entire web as moving towards a ‘plug-in free experience’, citing Google’s YouTube moving towards HTML5.
"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", Hachamovitch said.
Could this finally be the end of Flash?