Blog Post

BBC Dumps Microsoft-Backed Skinkers Apps, Switches To Adobe

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

imageThe BBC is moving away from desktop apps made by Microsoft-backed Skinkers and instead bringing production in-house, switching to Adobe’s (NSDQ: ADBE) Flash-based cross-platform Flex and AIR frameworks. John O’Donovan, BBC future media and technology’s chief architect for journalism, explained that its desktop alert apps like Mini Motty and news ticker have “hundreds of thousands” of users but “only work on Windows, are built out of a variety of proprietary tools”, “are difficult to manage and expensive to maintain”.

Adobe’s Flex and AIR, by contrast, “link up with in-house skills in the team which manages them, making them simpler to manage”. The corporation launched the first such app, BBC LiveUpdate, in beta today.

It marks a further step in the Beeb’s abandonment of proprietary Windows media players. In October, it signed a technology deal with Adobe to adopt its Flash – a contract that resulted both in the long-awaited Mac-capable web version of iPlayer and in BBC News finally axing Microsoft’s (NSDQ: MSFT) WMV and Real’s video formats in favour of embedded video, causing video views to double. Microsoft bought 10 percent of Skinkers in 2006.

One Response to “BBC Dumps Microsoft-Backed Skinkers Apps, Switches To Adobe”

  1. This is great news. This was an obscene abuse of monopoly by both the BBC and Microsoft to engineer a lockout of certain classes of users against users wishes, and the BBC wasted about £23 million of license fee payer's money on the Windows specific download version of the iPlayer for the privilege of locking out non-Windows users to boot.

    Unfortunately ITV is still involved in a similar exercise with Microsoft which locks out all users other than Windows users, and their attitude to customer complaints is quite arrogant – basically they say they have no plans to allow anyone other than Windows users to access their service. I believe this is in breach of anti-competition law, and the case is actually much stronger than the lawsuit by Real Networks in the EU for the bundling of Windows Media Player with Windows by Microsoft – a case which Microsoft lost. The reason why this case is much stronger, is because unlike bundling of the Windows Media Player with Windows, in the case of bundling of Microsoft's proprietary Silverlight player with ITV's services, the end user cannot simply download and install an alternative player to access the service – it is a complete lockout of competing players.

    If there are any others who feel as I do about ITV's unnecessary bundling of it's services into Microsoft Windows, you can complain to the EU using the EU's consumer competition complaint form:
    http://ec.europa.eu/comm/competition/forms/consumer_form.html