As we Microsoft watchers continue to parse the 8,600-word post on Windows on ARM (WOA) that posted on February 10 on the “Building Windows 8″ blog, more new questions are arising. The latest: What are developers and customers who rely on browser plug-ins to do if they want ARM-based Windows 8 tablets and PCs?
Until yesterday, Microsoft’s stance had been that it would offer two different versions of Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8: A Metro-style version that wouldn’t allow plug-ins; and a Desktop version that would allow plug-ins. Microsoft officials demonstrated at Build a Windows 8 ARM-based tablet that allowed a Flash plug-in. (Thanks to MVP Alan Burchill for finding that video, with the Flash demo starting at 2:20.)
Yesterday, Windows President Steven Sinofsky blogged that while there will be a Desktop experience on Windows on ARM, it will be very restricted. The Desktop on these devices will run only specially tailored “Office 15″ versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote; the Windows File Explorer; Internet Explorer 10 and some unspecified other operating system tools/components. Sinofsky didn’t note in his post that plug-ins were no longer supported in the Desktop version of IE10. (”The closest he came was saying “WOA does not support running, emulating, or porting existing x86/64 desktop apps.”)