Microsoft announced last year its plans to remove Adobe Flash from all of its web browsers by the end of 2020, and today the company shared some important updates about continued support for enterprise customers. Adobe Flash has become pretty much irrelevant in the past decade with the rise of HTML5, and the plugin is also a regular source of security concerns. Adobe will end support for Flash in December 2020, and that's also when Microsoft plans remove it on the new Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Edge Legacy, as well as Internet Explorer 11.
If you're using the new Microsoft Edge, the built-in Adobe Flash plug-in will be automatically removed from the browser in January 2021. For the legacy Edge and Internet Explorer 11, Adobe Flash will be disabled by default starting in January 2021, and Microsoft plans to remove it completely from the OS via a patch that will be available in the Microsoft Update Catalog later this fall. "The update will be made optional on Windows Update and WSUS in early 2021 and will be made recommended a few months later. It should be noted that this update will be permanent and cannot be un-installed," the company explained.
In Summer 2021, Microsoft plans to release a patch to remove all APIs, group policies, and interfaces designed to manage the plugin in the legacy version of Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 10 and Windows 8. However, enterprise users will still be able to access Flash after 2020 via the new IE Mode on the Chromium-based Edge. "Microsoft Edge will allow Adobe Flash Player to load as a plug-in via the Internet Explorer mode feature. Inherently, Internet Explorer 11 will also allow this. Once you make the switch from Microsoft provided Adobe Flash Player, it will be treated as any other third-party plug-in and will not receive Customer Support from Microsoft," the company explained.
Adobe Flash used to be a major component of the Internet 10 years ago, but the proprietary plugin was not well suited for mobile devices. Apple's decision to not allow it on iOS devices played and the rise of open standards like HTML5 eventually played a huge role in its demise. Adobe announced the deprecation of Flash back in 2017, but there are still some companies which will need some assistance to finally move away from the plugin. If needed, you can find more information about Microsoft's Edge IE Mode on this page.