Many webmasters, web developers and regular users thought that the rise of HTML5 would eliminate the web's need for Adobe Flash and other proprietary technologies. Even though we have seen some sites make use of HTML5 technologies, Flash is still widely used, often as a fallback for users whose browsers do not support all the HTML5 features required by the site.
We have also seen the native integration of Adobe Flash in Google Chrome, and if recent leaks are anything to go by, Internet Explorer 10 will also have Adobe Flash natively built-in. Internet Explorer 10 is expected to be released with Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system that will launch in the fourth quarter of 2012. The operating system will feature two versions of Internet Explorer: first the desktop version that is the successor of Internet Explorer 9, and then a specially designed version for the Metro UI version.
What makes this interesting is the announcement that Internet Explorer 10's Metro version will ship without plugin support. Up until now this meant all plugins, including Adobe Flash, Java or the company's own Silverlight. With Flash integrated natively in the browser, Microsoft would stay true to the past announcement, while allowing Metro users access to Flash-based contents at the same time.
A member of the Winunleaked forum spotted Flash Player in the control panel after installation of the operating system, and that both the desktop version and the Metro version were able to make use of it. Windows 8 furthermore blocked the installation of the regular Internet Explorer Flash plugin.
According to Rafael Rivera Microsoft brokered a deal with Adobe to get access to the Flash source code, in a similar fashion that Google managed to do earlier on. It appears that both companies will benefit from the integration. Adobe for one ensures that Flash installations stay on a high level, and Microsoft enables its Metro browser to access Flash contents after all.
It is not really clear yet if users have options to disable native Flash in Windows to improve the security of the system. I guess we have to wait until the release of the Release Preview version that is expected for June 1.
What's your take on this development? Great move, or another security risk that users have to deal with?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.