Microsoft to block Flash, Shockwave, and Silverlight in Office 365

Last week, the leading company Microsoft, announced its plans to block Flash, Silverlight, and Shockwave in Office 365. This block is only restricted to the clients having Office 365 subscription. The company added that Flash, Silverlight, and shockwave content would not be blocked from activating in Office 2016, Office 2013, and Office 2010 copies.

This block is a complete block. Microsoft is not just disabling the controls which create problems with the choice to click on the button and see the content. This block implies that Microsoft Office 365 will stop the Flash, Silverlight, or Shockwave content from playing in the Microsoft Office docs all in all.

This block is scheduled for January 2019

This new change is expected to come into effect in the month of January next year. Just the Shockwave, Silverlight, and Flash content which is embedded along with the feature of “Insert Object” is blocked. However, the Silverlight, Shockwave, and Flash content embedded with the feature “Insert Online Video” are not blocked.

The critical distinction between the two is that the “Insert Object” feature employs the use of The OLE or Object Linking and Embedding technology of Microsoft, whereas the Insert Online Video feature embeds content through a frame of the web browser Internet Explorer.

Reasons for this block cited as security and Flash’s EOL

Microsoft has given a number of reasons for taking the decision of blocking Flash from Office 365. The company said that creators and authors of malicious software had misused this mechanism for exploit attacks and campaigns. Moreover, Microsoft announced that the MS Office users hardly ever made use for these features.

In addition to this, the company said that they had been thinking about making this decision ever since Adobe announced Flash’s end of life for the year 2020. It had ceased to support Silverlight content in the year of 2016. Its last end of support date for the enterprise users was scheduled for the year 2021.

If in any case, certain organizations or companies still wish to embed or view content based on Flash or Silverlight in MS Office 365, then for this purpose, Microsoft has created a support page which has the guidance on how to enable the Silverlight, Shockwave, and Flash controls again.

Microsoft added that they are confident that this decision will not impact a significant chunk of Office customers. The usage of flash has diminished over the past few years. According to Google, the percentage of everyday Google chrome users who have loaded at least one web page which contains Flash content per day has decreased from approximately eighty percent in the year 2014 to below eight percent at the beginning of this year. As per, W3Techs, a web statistics service company, has also noted that Flash has plummeted to a market share of 5 percent in 2018, as compared to 28 percent in the year 2011.

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