Microsoft has just announced that it will permit Flash content to run by default in both Windows RT and Windows 8 beginning tomorrow, March 12th. Until now, compatibility in Internet Explorer 10 has been limited to a select number of sites whitelisted by Microsoft. (Windows 8's traditional desktop mode has offered full Flash support from the get-go.) But moving forward — and after users apply a software update — the inverse will be true. Microsoft has apparently concluded that web developers have made sufficient progress in bringing touch interactivity to Flash content. "As we have seen through testing over the past several months, the vast majority of sites with Flash content are now compatible with the Windows experience for touch, performance, and battery life."
The company says a small number of Flash-based sites that don't meet its criteria will continue to be blocked. Those websites will be included in a "Compatibility View (CV)" list, but Microsoft says users shouldn't encounter many issues in the grand scheme of things. "We believe having more sites 'just work' in IE10 improves the experience for consumers, businesses, and developers," reads a blog post on the change. "As a practical matter, the primary device you walk around with should give you access to all the Web content on the sites you rely on. Otherwise, the device is just a companion to a PC." That last tidbit seems like a clear shot directed at the iPad, which has lacked support for Flash since its release in 2010. Apple has long maintained that Flash isn't a good fit for post-PC devices, highlighting potential security and battery life concerns. But for anyone still relying on Adobe's web technology, Microsoft just gained an important differentiator.