March 12, 2013

Microsoft Lifts Flash Player Whitelist While Still Pushing HTML5

Until now, Microsoft (News Alert) used a whitelist system on sites with Macromedia’s Flash Player in Internet Explorer 10. Just recently, however, it has ended that policy, and instead allows the content to run everywhere except for blacklisted sites.

When Microsoft launched Windows 8 and the Internet Explorer 10 Web browser, it limited the Flash Player functionality to play content from its pre-approved websites only.

This served both the purpose of protecting computers from malicious sites that try to attack through Flash videos, and as a way of pushing HTML5 ahead instead.

But the Internet is a vast expanse of websites, and no matter how much Microsoft tried, all the sites it could approve were just tiny drops in a massive bucket. That resulted in many perfectly innocent sites being unable to play Flash content for IE10 viewers, as their only crime was being below Microsoft’s radar.

But no more, with this new patch for IE10. Rather than only allowing certain sites to run Flash content, it will permit all except for those it has blacklisted. This may open up some vulnerability from websites it hasn’t spotted as containing malicious content yet, but it’s a risk many users are willing to take.

Of course, Microsoft is still putting its eggs in the HTML5 basket. It has made it clear that it still wants to push HTML5 forward, but it can do so without having to drag Flash back.

However, it neglected to mention Silverlight, so it’s safe to assume that Silverlight has become vaporware.

Compromise isn’t a sign of weakness, and Microsoft knows it. It’s easy to allow Flash to play on all but sites found dangerous while still pushing forward with HTML5. As many websites do not yet offer an HTML5 alternative to their Flash content, it’s best to allow them both and let the customers and users decide which they prefer.

If Microsoft really does believe in HTML5, the result should speak for itself.

Edited by Braden Becker


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