Flash Ads Disabled with New IE Update?


Now that Microsoft has shipped a new update of its Internet Explorer, multimedia content and the way it’s rendered on Web pages could be altered forever — and could affect the industry by disabling interaction with many flash advertisements.

As a result of the company’s multimillion dollar patent dispute with Chicago firm Eolas Technologies, Inc, the new IE patch —released Feb. 28th—means that Internet Explorer won’t be able to directly interact with Microsoft ActiveX controls loaded by the APPLET, EMBED, or OBJECT elements without first activating the user interface with an extra mouse click.

According to PC Magazine, some widely deployed programs that use ActiveX controls within the browser include Adobe’s Reader and Flash, Apple’s QuickTime Player, Microsoft’s Windows Media Player, RealNetworks’ RealPlayer and Sun’s JVM (Java Virtual Machine).

Microsoft first detailed its modification plans beginning December 2, 2005, notifying its ActiveX control vendors, OEM partners and content providers of modifications that will affect all future releases of Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

The patent itself, which is referred to as the ‘906 patent, was first licensed exclusively to Eolas in 1998 and describes ways that a Web browser can use external applications. In September, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected Microsoft’s attempt to invalidate the patent, despite industry fears that this could disrupt multimedia efforts online.

But the Buddy Group founder Pete Deutschman tells ADOTAS that it’s best not to overreact, and instead adjust. “When dealing with the interactive space, there are constant changes to technology and standards,” he says. “This is yet another one of those changes which everyone will have to adjust to. It’s up to us, the leaders in the space, to keep cooler heads with what is appearing to be a media frenzy, and look for solutions as opposed to ‘sky-is-falling’ predictions.”

Deutschman continues, “It appears as of now that educating the end user on how the newly enforced ‘optional’ settings affect their online experience will be the paramount challenge for all of us in the interactive space. It is too soon to determine how this will affect the creative and user experience but we have already put a team in place to determine the best approach. It all comes down to managing expectations (publisher, advertiser and most important the end user).”

Update Posted on 3/06/06


  1. I have downloaded the patch. It is not as bad as I thought it was going to be. For me, all flash ads still show. To interact with the flash ads, you have to click on them first.

  2. The following table lists the DTHML events that are blocked when ActiveX controls are inactive.

    onactivate ondragleave onmouseout
    onbeforeactivate ondragover onmouseover
    onbeforecopy ondragstart onmouseup
    onbeforecut ondrop onmousewheel
    onbeforedeactivate onfocus onmove
    onbeforepaste onfocusin onmoveend
    onblur onfocusout onmovestart
    onclick onhelp onpage
    oncontextmenu onkeydown onpaste
    oncontrolselect onkeypress onresize
    oncopy onkeyup onresizeend
    oncut onlosecapture onresizestart
    ondblclick onmousedown onscroll
    ondeactivate onmouseenter onselectstart
    ondragend onmouseleave
    ondragenter onmousemove

  3. There is a work around to this which eliminates the extra click. If the OBJECT tag is written to the page by JavaScript it will bypass the extra click. HOWEVER. The document.write must be contained in an external JS file. It can not be inline with the code.

  4. The suggestions already posted in these comments rein in the most common workarounds to the IE update, and you can find more information and resources to help address the change published at the URL below.


    Note- this behavioral change in IE is not specific to Flash, but any embedded ‘active content’, for the record (applets, Quicktime movies, etc.).

    As suggested earlier, putting the object/embed tag in a document.write() call within an external Javascript file (and then including that JS file in your HTML doc) will remove the need for a user click to activate the control. By parameterizing your external JS file/functions, it could also be reused by passing in references to different SWF movies, requiring only one external JS file across multiple resources.

    Hope this helps out.

  5. This is no longer an issue. As Geoff posted there is a fix and it is being implimented by most web sites that know how to fix it. You can pretty much google seach a fix and be fine.

  6. So can we assume that all work-arounds also cause IE to violate the patent, such that we’ll have MS working “against” content providers in order to meet their obligations?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here