Surprise, surprise. A few month ago Microsoft revealed its plans to ship the Windows 8 operating system with two distinctly different versions of the company’s own Internet Explorer web browser. Internet Explorer 10 for desktop, which is the successor of Internet Explorer 9, and then a special Metro version of the Internet browser, which is a minimalistic version, tab-less, and without support for browser plugins.
A plugin-less browser is a bold move in times where the move towards HTML5 is still underway, where plugins like Adobe Flash, or even Microsoft’s own Silverlight plugin, are used widely on the Internet.
Today news broke that Microsoft may have found a way to circumvent the plugin-less approach for Adobe’s Flash plugin. The basic idea here is to integrate Flash natively into Internet Explorer 10, so that it is not a browser plugin, but a native feature of the browser.
This basically means that Ie10 users who work with the Metro version of the browser, will be able to access Flash contents in the browser after all. The integration seems to replicate – more or less – Chrome’s native integration of the technology.
With Chrome and Internet Explorer supporting Flash natively, Flash will be automatically installed on the majority of browsers. Both companies benefit from the arrangement. Adobe manages to sneak their Flash plugin into another browser, ensuring its future availability ddespite the move towards HTLM5 technologies, and Microsoft can appease their customers who may have caused a storm of support requests otherwise why their favorite media or entertainment site is not working properly in the company’s latest browser.
According to Rafael Rivera, Flash will however be only available for select sites, and not all Internet sites.
So, Microsoft has extended the Internet Explorer Compatibility View list to include rules for popular Flash-based web sites that are known to meet certain criteria. That is, Flash is supported for only those popular but legacy web sites that need it. This feature is not broadly available for all sites.
It is not clear yet if IE10 users will be allowed to edit the compatibility list to make sure that Flash contents run on sites that they like to visit. As always, we will keep you updated when we have more information available.