This Is the Next Tech Giant Waving Goodbye to Adobe Flash

December 15, 2016, 8:02 PM UTC
Microsoft Corp. Opens New Office And Experience Center
The logo of Microsoft Corp. is displayed at the company's Office and Experience Center in Hong Kong, China, on Friday, March 4, 2016.
Billy H.C. Kwok—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Another big tech company is phasing out Adobe’s Flash player.

Microsoft said this week that the next version of its Edge web browser, the replacement for its Internet Explorer browser, will automatically block Flash media from displaying when people visit websites that use the video player.

If people wish to see blocked content on websites that heavily use Flash, they can choose to do so via clicking on the appropriate button. For websites that support the HTML5 coding language, the Edge browser will not load any Flash content. But users will still be able to watch videos because HTML5 allows for them.

“To ease the transition to HTML5, these changes initially will not affect the most popular sites which rely on Flash today,” Microsoft Edge managers John Hazen and Crispin Cowan wrote. “In the coming months, we will actively monitor Flash consumption in Microsoft Edge and will gradually shorten the list of automatic exceptions.”

With the move to phase our Flash, Microsoft (MSFT) joins other big web companies like Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL), and Mozilla, which have all announced similar initiatives.

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Adobe’s Flash player has a history of software bugs that have made it a prime tool for criminals to utilize for hacking purposes. In April, for instance, Adobe (ADBE) had to issue an emergency update to Flash because security researchers discovered a flaw that hackers used to distribute so-called ransomware to people’s computers. With ransomware, hackers can lock users out of their computers and demand payment to give back access or unscramble data that they may have encrypted.

Companies like Google and Microsoft as well as security researchers prefer website developers to use the HTML5 coding language to display video and media, believing it is less buggy and safer than Flash.

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In August, Google said its Chrome browser would stop supporting Flash by 2017, following Mozilla, which said in July its Firefox browser would also phase out Flash.

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