Echoing Apple, Microsoft bans Flash from Metro IE10 in Windows 8

One 'skin' of the browser will support plug-ins like Flash, another will not

Microsoft will not support browser plug-ins, including Adobe's Flash, in one of the two versions of Internet Explorer to be bundled with Windows 8, a company executive said today.

As he explained Microsoft's reasoning, Dean Hachamovitch, the executive who leads the IE team, used some deja vu, echoing motives cited by Apple's then-CEO Steve Jobs more than a year ago.

Internet Explorer 10 (IE10), the edition included with the Windows 8 developer preview that Microsoft launched earlier this week, will come in two flavors. One will run in the Metro interface, the tile-based look borrowed from Windows Phone 7, while the other will run on the more traditional desktop, also available to Windows 8 users.

Microsoft called the former "Metro style IE."

That's the one that will be "plug-in free," Hachamovitch said in a Thursday blog.

"The Metro style browser in Windows 8 is as HTML5-only as possible, and plug-in free," said Hachamovitch. "The experience that plug-ins provide today is not a good match with Metro style browsing and the modern HTML5 Web."

Both versions of IE10 on Windows 8 will use the same rendering engine, added Hachamovitch in a separate blog entry published Wednesday.

Because it's plug-in free, the Metro IE10 -- a separate app written for the Metro interface, not just a "visual design," said Hachamovitch -- does not support Flash, Adobe's popular media player.

Hachamovitch relied on many of the same arguments that Apple has peddled for years as it defended its decision to ban Flash from the iPhone and iPad.

"Running Metro style IE plug-in free improves battery life as well as security, reliability, and privacy for consumers," said Hachamovitch today.

In a long letter made public in April 2010, Apple's then-CEO Steve Jobs ticked off security, reliability, performance and power issues as reasons why Apple would never allow Flash on iOS.

"We know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash," said Jobs in his unusual "Thoughts on Flash" epistle. "We don't want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash."

IE10 Metro app
The Metro IE10 app doesn't support plug-ins, including Flash, leading to blank spaces on some sites.
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