Microsoft has announced that it is ending support for the Adobe Flash Player on Microsoft Edge (new and legacy) and Internet Explorer 11 at the end of 2020.
Initially released in 1996, Adobe Flash Player is software for using content created on the Adobe Flash platform and Flash Player can run from a web browser as a browser plug-in or on a supported mobile device. Flash player can enable the viewing of multimedia content, execute rich internet applications, and stream audio and video.
The move away from Adobe Flash Player was first announced by Microsoft back in July 2017.
End of Support
Microsoft says that from this December, there will be no more “Security Update for Adobe Flash Player” from Microsoft for Microsoft Edge Legacy and Internet Explorer 11 and that beginning in January 2021, Adobe Flash Player will be disabled by default and all versions older than KB4561600 released in June 2020 will be blocked. Also, any downloadable resources related to Adobe Flash Player that are hosted on Microsoft websites will no longer be available.
Why End Support?
The reason for Microsoft ending support for Adobe Flash, as indicated 3 years ago, is that there are now better, more secure options than Adobe Flash available, such as HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly.
Still Options For Enterprise Customers
Adobe will, however, still provide support options beyond the end of 2020 for enterprises that need help with moving away from Adobe Flash Player or need more support for ‘line of business applications’ that may be dependent on it after 2020. For example, Microsoft has announced that to help these customers, Edge will allow Adobe Flash Player to load as a plug-in via the Internet Explorer mode feature and that Internet Explorer 11 will also allow this. Microsoft has stressed that once the switch is made from the Microsoft provided Adobe Flash Player, it will be treated as any other third-party plug-in and, therefore, will not receive Customer Support from Microsoft.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
As Microsoft pointed out, this is really the end of an era for some software that brought real dynamism to the Web as it was in the late 90s. Flash created a whole range of animated possibilities for websites at the time and went on to lead the way for rich content, gaming, animations, and media of all kinds. It was also an inspiration for many of today’s web standards powering HTML5. Adobe’s partnership with Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, Apple, and others to develop the capabilities of Flash helped businesses on the Web by enabling them to provide experiences and engagement and has provided opportunities for businesses e.g. in the media, marketing, gaming industries.
Looking forward though, the better performance and increased security of HTML5 standards in modern browsers will carry on helping businesses when Flash is gone.