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Microsoft follows Apple's lead with Flash snub

16 Sep 2011

There have been accusations for decades that Microsoft rips off Apple's ideas in its products. The latest reports out of Redmond may not kick off any lawsuits, but they do indicate that the rest of the market continues to follow Apple's lead.

Windows boss Steven Sinofsky announced via a blog posting yesterday that Metro, the version of Windows 8 designed for tablets, will not support plug-ins. The post hardly mentions any specific plug-ins, but it's pretty obvious that Adobe Flash played a large part in Microsoft's decision.

Perhaps Apple did as well. Early on, when the iPad maker vowed not to support Flash in iOS, Apple took all sorts of heat and many predicted that sales would suffer as a result.

As it turns out, people don't use Flash as much as they thought they would. Sites that rely on the technology are usually able to develop a workaround by creating special mobile and iPad versions of their sites with HTML5. Apple also avoids the security risks and performance worries that have dogged Flash in recent years.

Now that Microsoft has announced it will drop Flash support for its tablet OS, the reaction is very different. The move has drummed up some attention in the press, but it most certainly was not the firestorm the Apple's announcement caused, and there is little to no speculation that the move will have any substantial negative consequences for Microsoft.

Adobe, meanwhile, may need to pick up the pace on its corporate makeover. It looks like the market for Flash may be drying up faster than it thought.

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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