Silverlight vs. Flash: the battle for the platform

by alec on April 16, 2007

The big news out of Microsoft this morning is Silverlight, their technology to compete with Adobe's Flash.  Fast, cross platform, client and server agnostic, and just 1 megabyte to download, according to Tim Sneath.  And with Adobe Flash 9 video on 84.3% of the net's desktops, it's no wonder Microsoft has taken an interest. 

Not to be outdone, Adobe has struck by previewing the Adobe Media Player, a standalone player that presumably may compete, some day, with the Microsoft player. 

Why?  Well, as noted in this morning's Wall Street Journal:

… Adobe's Flash is becoming a foundation for Internet applications that won't necessarily work only with Windows PCs. Microsoft is "afraid that Adobe is going to start convincing corporate developers to use Flash to start developing Web applications," says Greg DeMichillie, an analyst at the research firm Directions on Microsoft. "It's the Java threat but with better technology."

The competition to improve the customer experience is great.  But honestly, I'd be happier if (a) Windows Media Player could play a flash video and (b) Flash Media Player supported Microsoft codecs.  Throw Apple and Real into that mix, and I'd be a really happy camper.  Right now, my spiffy new Windows Vista PC feels a lot like Frankenstein's monster, as I battle with getting video from the different vendors to play. The proliferation of codecs and players serves nobody's interests but the software companies. 

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