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Microsoft Launching Flash Competitor: Silverlight

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imageUpdate: 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.

3 Responses to “Microsoft Launching Flash Competitor: Silverlight”

  1. For SEO, search engines don't look into databases for data which might be dynamically inserted into a page (whether via Ajax or Flash). Google does index the static text within SWF files, as a search on "filetype:swf 'contrary evidence'" will show.

    The banner angle will have to wait until deliverables, but Adobe does not own the ad-serving process, nor rake from it.

    Video server costs and features are in flux, and it's difficult to pin down something which is not even in public beta yet.

    Most of the other points in comments (including "adobe late in shipping a player"), are too vague and mysterious to be able to correct.


  2. Rafat,
    Thanks for the post. A few items I thought you might be interested in given PaidContents readership

    – Richer, broadcast-style ad insertion 1/3 page banners, and a system that works with what exists today.
    – Easier SEO Silverlight-based apps are XML and Javascript. No need to crack open a compiled package. Search engine providers take notice. Even the video format is standards-based (WMV-9 is SMPTE VC-1 standard, ships in every Blu-Ray and HD-DVD player
    – Lower cost of delivery via streaming, helping to offset generally increasing production costs as consumers want more interactive experiences. Today most sites are using the firehose to fill a paper cup method of delivery, paying to deliver the whole clip, even though most consumers only watch a fraction. The server is reported by customers to be 3-4x more scalable, cheaper, and more reliable than other solutions.
    – Announced content protection required by providers for web-based delivery of premium content.

    Video consumption on the web is skyrocketing- the challenge is how to keep those costs under control, while optimize ways to monetize proven by traditional broadcast today.

  3. This is a GREAT BIG announcement for MS and puts Windows Media in the driver's seat for some time to come.

    I don't think MS was any more late to the party getting a browser plug-in to playback WM Content than Adobe was by actually shipping a player.

    Sure to be a big week in Vegas and see you all there.

    Christopher Levy
    Founder and CEO
    [email protected]