Microsoft Hates Flash, Too, And For The Same Reasons As Apple

May 3rd, 2010 | By | Category: Featured Story, Internet TV, iPods & Portable Media Players, Video

It looks like Microsoft is joining the Flash Is Dead bandwagon, announcing that its new direction for Internet Explorer is to focus on HTML5 + H.264:

The future of the web is HTML5. Microsoft is deeply engaged in the HTML5 process with the W3C. HTML5 will be very important in advancing rich, interactive web applications and site design. The HTML5 specification describes video support without specifying a particular video format. We think H.264 is an excellent format. In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video only.

H.264 is an industry standard, with broad and strong hardware support. Because of this standardization, you can easily take what you record on a typical consumer video camera, put it on the web, and have it play in a web browser on any operating system or device with H.264 support e.g. a PC with Windows 7.

We’re focusing our HTML5 video support on H.264.

Given the level of controversy that Apple has faced over its decision to move away from Flash and towards Web standards, it’s a bit surprising to see how quickly others have followed suit. 

Microsoft’s move isn’t as definitive as Apple’s, though. They emphasize the importance of maintaining compatibility with Flash:

Flash does have some issues, particularly around reliability, security, and performance. We work closely with engineers at Adobe, sharing information about the issues we know of in ongoing technical discussions. Despite these issues, Flash remains an important part of delivering a good consumer experience on today’s web.

Flash has some issues – like reliability, security and performance.

This closely echoes Steve Jobs’ concerns about the reliability, security and performance of Flash.

Microsoft’s move isn’t as bold as Apple’s. Microsoft is accepting the reliability, security and performance problems of Flash as a necessary evil, while Apple is rejecting it.

Though the clear trend is away from Flash for Internet video, things are going to be messy for a few years.

Where do you think Flash will be when the dust settles?

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8 Responses to “Microsoft Hates Flash, Too, And For The Same Reasons As Apple”

  1. I think this is great, but not necessarily the end of Flash. It may be the end of Flash being used to deliver audio/video to the web browser, which is definitely a good thing.

    For those who wonder, IE9 will also support audio in both AAC and MP3 format as well as H.264 video. One other note about IE9, it is currently planned for Windows 7/Vista only, it will not be offered to Windows XP/2000 users.

    I wrote more on this subject on my blog, if anyone was curious what my take is on HTML5, Flash and audio/video formats:

    • elliot says:


      I have to agree. This is good news but I think the news is more about embracing open standards for video than it is about dumping Flash.

      Flash is going to be around for a long time, but Adobe missed its opportunity to make the platform more than a tool for banner ads and cheesy games.

  2. Me says:

    At some point, if not already, I read Apple will allow Opera. And Opera allows Flash. So will Opera remove certain features to please Apple or let Apple otherwise control what applications run in conjunction with it? How does/will this work exactly? Or is this a potential workaround?

    • I’m sure if Opera wants to allow Flash then Apple will let them, however the Flash feature of Opera may just not work because there isn’t the software support in the OS.

      Flash is just too established not to support, so it’s going to be a while before it completely disappears.

      I also have to wonder if IE9 will try to block attempts to download videos the same way Windows Vista and 7 block internal recording.

      Although I’m into using Firefox now and I’m sure they’ll continue to support Flash, even if it’s just a plugin.

      • Dave Dax says:

        Having used Opera on the iPhone, it’s a complete dog.

        There are some nice features, but it actually feels slower and buggier than Safari. The only time you see performance improvements is when you go to a mainstream site or when you hit the back button. Many crashes, though.

  3. Oscar says:

    Both Microsoft and Apple have their own agendas. Their explanations and reasoning about why Flash is no longer relevant, lack objectivity and reasoning. Both fail to mention the most important Flash feature which is “interactivity”. Flash is not a video codec or a mere game developing authoring tool. This is what Microsoft and Apple want the world to believe. They miss the point. Flash is the best authoring tool for the development of interactive web applications that include learning programs, games, tutorials, etc.
    It will take years for HTML 5 to mature and come close to what Adobe Flash is today. Both Microsoft and Apple characterize Adobe Flash as a buggy and instable plugin that crashes browsers. Are Apple Quicktime and Microsoft Silverlight plugins free of bugs? I don’t think so. Quicktime is one of the slowest plugins and Silverlight doesn’t even come close to the power ans stability of Adobe Flash.
    Flash is a very open format. You can author on Mac and PCs, you can produce Flash files from open source applications like OpenOffice, there are several open source applications that allow you to save into Flash format, you can use it to create desktop applications or web based applications. It is great for the creation of all sorts of interactive applications. Can you do all that with HTML 5? I don’t think so.
    If you want to create an iPhone application you need to use an Apple development kit on an Apple computer and you need to send your finished application to Apple for approval, you need to pay Apple a royalty if you want to sell it, and of course you need to pray for Apple to approve it an publish it on their App Market. Apple can always say no, we don’t publish your app, and that it, all your effort and time spent in developing your precious app. is down the drain. Is this an open approach to development? I don’t think so. It is very restrictive and obsolete.
    Many developers around the world are being affected by this position taken by two technology giants who are completely ignoring developers and putting their business interests first. They are affecting the current state of development in a negative way and taking us backwards.

    • Nick Toth says:

      Oscar, you hit the nail on the head!! Amidst all the claims and counter claims it is us poor people trying to make a living that support these corporate wars by having to learn and relearn on a daily basis. I don’t mind learning and relearning, that is what life and work are about, however it bothers me that these people try and sell us a load of crap to justify their positions. HTML5 is nowhere as developed as Flash in terms of capabilities and audience reach. It is the closest thing we have to an open standard, but NOOOO, Jobs and Microsoft with Silverlight want to start a new war all over again.

      All this garbage about Flash being a problem on the mac….. I just don’t see it. How about whining about how I have to use Firefox instead of Safari for so many non-Flash cloud computing sites like those for sending out an email blast? How about the fact that I have a subscription to a server farm to test html websites on different computer configurations, but with Flash you don’t have to?

      Your point about developing separately, for Apple approval and royalties…. why don’t more people say this?? Are they that brainwashed??

      I’ve been a Mac evangelist for 15 years, but I find this Flash attack by Apple–this hypocritical excuse for controlling the web, and our lives– very frustrating. And in the end, it is on the backs of web developers that Jobs and the likes of him make their millions….

  4. i curtis weathersby have not been in to computer too long and may have a tough time chooseing

    between the difference computer flash drive that are on the market today. i;m trying to learn as much




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