In part of a new plan the company announced last week, Microsoft blocks Flash, Shockwave and Silverlight in Office 365, but not for other Office distributions.

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The company says blocking Flash, Shockwave and Silverlight only applies to users subscription to Office 365 and does not affect other Office distributions such as Office 2016, Office 2013, or Office 2010.

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Microsoft blocks Flash, Shockwave, and Silverlight in Office 365

Accordingly, Office 365 will block all Flash, Shockwave, or Silverlight content in Office documents, not just disable this content in the traditional way.

The change will apply from January 1, 2019

The changes will be applied from January 1/2019, the specific process is as follows:

– Content is blocked in the Office 365 Monthly channel starting June 2018.
– Content is blocked in the Office 365 Semi Annual Targeted (SAT) channel starting September 2018.
– Content is blocked in the Office 365 Semi Annual (SA) channel starting January 2019.

Only Flash, Shockwave, and Silverlight content embedded with the Insert Object feature are blocked, not content embedded through Insert Online Video.

The biggest difference is that previously Microsoft used OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) technology to embed content, now content will be embedded through Internet Explorer frames.

Flash security and EOL issues are to blame

Microsoft also gave different reasons for its decision. According to the software giant, the creators of the malware abuse this mechanism to exploit campaigns, and Office users rarely use these features.

Microsoft also said it made the decision after Abobe announced the death of Flash Player in 2020. Microsoft stopped supporting Silverlight in 2016, with support for enterprise customers ending in 2021.

In some cases where some companies still need to embed or view Flash or Silverlight-based content in Office 365, Microsoft also posts on its support page instructions on how to re-enable Flash, Silverlight, and Shockwave.

“We believe these changes will not affect most Office users,” Microsoft added.

The number of Flash users has also plummeted in recent years. Google says the percentage of Chrome users who download at least 1 page containing Flash content daily dropped from 80 percent in 2014 to 8 percent earlier this year.
Web statistics service W3Techs also said that Flash‘s market share is only 5%, down 28.5% compared to 2011.