Microsoft clears up IE9 Flash confusion

Microsoft has clarified its position on Flash, after a blog post sparked speculation that IE9 would no longer support the format.

Microsoft clears up IE9 Flash confusion

On Thursday afternoon, Microsoft’s general manager of Internet Explorer, Dean Hachamovitch, published a blog post noting that “the future of the web is HTML5”, citing its performance and hardware support.

“The HTML5 specification describes video support without specifying a particular video format. We think H.264 is an excellent format. In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video only,” he concluded.

The blog sparked a flurry of comments and news stories, with many assuming that Microsoft was following Apple’s lead in dropping support for Flash.

However, Hachamovitch has now responded to these comments and attempted to clear up some of the confusion around the post, noting that IE9 will follow IE7 and IE8’s lead in supporting the Adobe Flash plugin.

“Of course, IE9 will continue to support Flash and other plugins. Developers who want to use the same markup today across different browsers rely on plugins,” he said.

“Plugins are also important for delivering innovation and functionality ahead of the standards process; mainstream video on the web today works primarily because of plug-ins. We’re committed to plugin support because developer choice and opportunity in authoring web pages are very important; ISVs on a platform are what make it great. We fully expect to support plug-ins (of all types, including video) along with HTML5,” he concluded.

He also took some time to explain why Microsoft wasn’t devoting additional engineering time to supporting the open-source Ogg Theora codec supported by Firefox 3.5, Opera 10.50 and Chrome.

“Many people seem to assume that availability of source code under an open source license implies that there are no additional costs, or that the code has properly secured necessary intellectual property rights from all rightful owners. Our experience and the experience of others indicate otherwise,” Hachamovitch writes.

The comments come as speculation mounts that Apple may face an antitrust investigation for banning apps developing in Flash from the iPhone and iPad.

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