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A battle that will only intensify this year is one currently raging on the video player front, as Microsoft’s (s MSFT) Silverlight tries to take down Adobe’s (S ADBE) Flash. Silverlight got an Obama boost today as the Presidential Inauguration Committee selected it as the video technology to stream the much-anticipated presidential inauguration on its web site. (For more viewing options, be sure to check out Liz’s exhaustive guide on where to watch Obama’s inauguration online.)
Capturing the Obamania on inauguration day is a nice little boon for Silverlight, which saw its ups and downs last year. On the plus side for Microsoft, Silverlight was used for Obama’s nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, streamed the Olympics, and was selected by Netflix to power video streaming on Macs. But it wasn’t all rosy: 2008 ended with the NFL picking Flash for its foray into live-streaming and Major League baseball kicking Silverlight to the curb in favor of Flash.
Silverlight’s got the chops. The video quality is quite good, but now it needs to translate these large scale events into market share. Microsoft said Silverlight boosted its penetration by 30 percent after the Olympics, but the company wouldn’t give any specific numbers beyond those mentioned in October when it released Silverlight 2; at that time, the company said only that “one in four consumers now have access to a machine that has Silverlight installed.” That’s a statement Microsoft shouldn’t be running its campaign on.