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

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Hachamovitch noted that Microsoft's research showed that 62% of the top 97,000 websites world-wide fall back to HTML5 video in the absence of Flash, again mirroring Jobs' 2010 anti-Adobe comments.

Plug-ins, including Flash, will be supported by the desktop version of IE10, and users can easily switch between the two, to, for example, render a specific site in the desktop browser after looking at it in Metro.

Users can also set either version as the default for all browsing on a Windows 8 PC.

Touch-enabled devices such as tablets will presumably default to the Metro style IE10, and hardware powered by ARM or other "system-on-a-chip" (SoC) processors -- which will run only Metro apps in the SoC edition of Windows 8 -- will obviously offer only Metro IE10.

Hachamovitch also launched a pre-emptive strike against critics of the dual-IE10 decision.

"Pessimists may criticize what they will call 'two browsers,'" said Hachamovitch. "There's only one browsing engine, which you can use with two different 'skins [and] over time, the Metro style experience will serve more and more mainstream browsing scenarios."

Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC, agreed that two IE browsers shouldn't trouble Windows 8 users.

"I don't see a problem with that, since the key underlying technologies are unified," Hilwa said in an email interview. "The two user-facing parts of the browser show how a developer can target both styles of using Windows 8 if they choose. Clearly, touch is a new way that requires a new model of programming and special attention, so this is warranted."

The Metro IE10 app is available only as part of the Windows 8 developer preview. That early look at the OS can be downloaded by anyone from Microsoft's website.

desktop IE 10
The desktop version of IE10 relies on plug-ins such as Flash to properly display some sites.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more articles by Gregg Keizer.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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