Microsoft's signalled it will join the crackdown on Adobe Flash in the forthcoming Windows 10 Creator’s Update, which won't even bother loading the pesky plug-in whenever possible. For sites that rely on Adobe's hellspawn, Edge will go all Clippy on users and ask if they really want to run it or would rather fire it into the heart of the sun to enjoy a fiery death it so richly deserves.
Yes, we've exaggerated a little in that last sentence. But not much. Microsoft says that as of next year some time “Sites that support HTML5 will default to a clean HTML5 experience. In these cases, Flash will not even be loaded, improving performance, battery life, and security.”
“For sites that still depend on Flash, users will have the opportunity to decide whether they want Flash to load and run, and this preference can be remembered for subsequent visits.”
There will be exemptions for “the most popular sites which rely on Flash today”, so as not to displease users, but Microsoft isn't saying which users. The company does say it will use its snooping-on-everything-that-happens-in-Windows powers to “actively monitor Flash consumption in Microsoft Edge and will gradually shorten the list of automatic exceptions.”
Redmond's intent is clear and Flash is to be treated a bit like a smoker in a modern office: not illegal, not possible to ban, but fair game for shaming and exclusion. Microsoft's done worse for its own ActiveX technology in Edge, so it's not as if Redmond is singling Adobe out for this treatment.
For those of us who must continue with legacy plug-ins, they've been exiled to Internet Explorer.
Microsoft's not alone in being openly hostile to Flash. Yahoo! has already done so, YouTube prefers not to use it, while Google has told advertisers to stop using Flash in ads by January 2nd, 2017 after blocking Flash ads from Chrome.
Mozilla's also expressed its displeasure and even VMware dumped Flash in favour of HTML 5 in the new vSphere Web Client.
The Windows 10 Creator’s Update is due next year. Microsoft has previously said “early” in the year, but now just says it will debut “in 2017.” ®