Update: See the comments from both Adobe and Macromedia below.
Microsoft’s is so late to the party, and yet it keeps on partying: at NAB, where Adobe is announcing the launch of its standalone media player, Microsoft is going inside the browser, with Silverlight, a Web browser plug-in for playing media files and displaying interactive Web applications (and one would have thought the plug-in wars are over).
Silverlight, under development for at least two years, is a player that can display Web apps on both Windows and the Mac in IE, Firefox or Safari. The download of the player will be less than 2MB.
Along with this, it is also announcing content and other partners who will test out the technology: Major League Baseball, online video broadcaster Brightcove, Netflix and Akamai Technologies (fill list of partners here).
Some advantages it says over Adobe’s Flash: Windows that display streaming video within a browser page can be resized because Silverlight uses vector graphics. Microsoft also will offer content publishers DRM tools.
BW: Microsoft is weeks away from releasing a line of Web design software that, when combined with Silverlight, will help developers create all manner of sophisticated online graphics. That software will work in conjunction with Windows Vista, tethering developers and their products all the more closely to Microsoft.
More details on Silverlight on Microsoft’s press section here.