Microsoft’s discontinued support for IE 8, 9 and 10 accelerates enterprise adoption of new browsers and subsequently ushers in the dawn of HTML5 video as the dominant standard for enterprise content.
Microsoft recently announced discontinued support for Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10. While the Redmond, Washington-based software giant has positioned this as a security and support-driven decision, there is a broader implication for the enterprise video market. Officially cutting ties with the older versions of Internet Explorer ushers in the dawn of HTML5 video as the dominant standard for enterprise content.
What does this mean on the surface?
Microsoft is acting to accelerate enterprise migration to the new Microsoft browsers to avoid continued investment into maintaining outdated editions – editions that are increasingly exploited by hackers and are no longer a piece of Microsoft’s strategic game plan. Interestingly, this action is as predictable as it is unexpected.
It’s predictable because we’ve already seen this behavior from Microsoft. In July, Microsoft incentivized their customers by offering free upgrades to their then newly released operating system, Windows 10, and subsequently a new default browser, Microsoft Edge.
Yet, it’s also shocking because many enterprises have deep integrations with IE 8, 9 and 10. Over the course of time, companies have built large, complex systems designed specifically for one of these older versions. As such, the substantial resources required for updating their systems and browsers to IE 11/Edge has kept many enterprises from updating up to this point.
What are the implications for enterprise video?
In one sense, IT organizations are having their hands forced. With Microsoft no longer providing security updates and patches for IE 8, 9 and 10, enterprises have to move quickly or leave themselves vulnerable to security breaches.
In another sense, once running IE 11/Edge, enterprises now have access to a video technology that was heretofore unavailable. IE 8, 9 and 10 did not support HTML5 without a plugin. The only option was Flash video. With underlying support for HTML5 in IE 11/Edge, enterprises can choose between Flash video and HTML5.
The migration to modern browsers will not hinder the current use and deployment of Flash because it is still supported on IE 11/Edge, but the option is there going forward. And it’s really not a tough decision to make.
HTML5 has a number of technical advantages over Flash, such as native support for all desktop and mobile operating systems/platforms, as well as better performance with lower CPU utilization on Apple and mobile devices.
Due to the technical advantages of HTML5, and the major security concerns associated with Flash, the underlying HTML5 video support enabled through migration to IE 11/Edge will make Flash the least attractive option going forward.
Although HTML5 has been earmarked as the streaming protocol of the future, enterprise video vendors have been slow to adopt HTML5 video technology into their platforms because of a classic “chicken or the egg” situation.
Enterprise video vendors delayed development of HTML5 video solutions until the market justified it, i.e., until the majority of enterprise desktop browsers fully supported HTML5. On the other hand, with the market devoid of a compelling HTML5 solution, enterprises lacked the impetus to dedicate resources in global browser upgrades.
Vendors who designed their underlying architecture to support HTML5 are now best positioned in the enterprise video market – a market in which HTML5 video is destined to become the standard for enterprise video.