It's usually hard to plan end-of-life support. We suspect it's much easier for companies to decide how they'll finally let Adobe Flash wither away, given the plugin's many problems, but Microsoft said on August 30 that it's had to change its approach to dropping Flash support from its browsers.
Adobe itself announced in July 2017 that it would stop updating Flash at the end of 2020. Other companies were quick to reveal their own plans for phasing out the plugin: Microsoft said that same day that it would disable Flash by default in Edge and Internet Explorer in "mid to late 2019." The browsers would still technically support the plugin, but it would have to be enabled on a site-by-site basis instead of activated on all sites at once.
In the years since that announcement, however, Microsoft decided to rebuild Edge around the Chromium project at the heart of Google Chrome. The company said last week that shifting to Chromium has changed its plans to drop Flash support from the new version of Edge, the old version of Edge and Internet Explorer. Now the company will disable--and ultimately remove--Flash on whatever timeline Google sets for Chromium to do the same.
The company's focus on the Chromium-based version of Edge also changed its plans for Edge Classic (not its real name) and Internet Explorer. It said:
"For both the in-market version of Microsoft Edge (built on EdgeHTML) and Internet Explorer 11, the current experience will continue as-is through 2019. Specifically, we no longer intend to update either Microsoft Edge (built on EdgeHTML) or Internet Explorer 11 to disable Flash by default. We still plan to fully remove Flash from these browsers by December 2020, as originally communicated."
Microsoft said that more information about Google's plans to drop Flash support from Chromium browsers can be found in one of the company's blog posts. (Which, like Microsoft's original announcement, was published the same day as Adobe's revelation of Flash's demise.) Soon enough, it will be time to pour one out for the plugin that everyone loved just as much as they eventually hated it. So long, Flash, and thanks for all the browser games.