Patent Ruling Will Cripple Flash

By Deane Barker on September 12, 2003

IE, Flash, and patents: here comes trouble: Zeldman highlights a big problem with this Eolas patent ruling. Technically, rich media is now no longer allow to play automatically in the browser window. This means that Flash movies cannot start without user intervention.

“Besides paying over half a billion dollars to the patent holder, Microsoft is supposed to cripple its market-leading browser so that IE/Windows will no longer seamlessly play Flash, Quicktime, RealVideo, or Adobe Acrobat files, Java applets, and other rich media formats. Once the company does this, any site that uses these technologies will no longer work in the browser most people use.”

This is serious: the workaround Microsoft is proposing is to insert a dialog box that pops up and asks the user, “Would you like me to start this Flash movie?” They are in that much of a bind here.

Jakob Nielsen is laughing his butt off right now.