back to article Microsoft Silverlight to copy Flash video tricks, Adobe responds

Microsoft last week made what is likely to be a lame attempt to slam the barn door after the video horse has bolted, copying the Adobe Flash Video strategy with a product that is quite simply too late. Microsoft spectacularly blew the PC video market despite its huge global lead in Windows Media Player, with its onboard codec …


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  1. Olof P

    No Linux support

    It's only cross-platform in the sense of running on OS X and Windows, while Flash has a linux version as well.

  2. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Flash for a reason

    People use Flash for video for a good reason, it's available on most platforms. Microsoft's version will be limited to Windows and possibly Mac, shutting out some mobile devices and Linux.

  3. Chad Smith

    Reading too much into it?

    A couple of things:

    You deliberately say that Microsoft were too late joining the party here, yet from Microsoft's standpoint they are not. Silverlight is the final name of a product that has been around for a little while, wpf/e; a sort of subset of wpf (Windows Presentation Foundation), most commonly known for being the presentation glitz of Vista Aero. wpf/e was created because it was realised, it could be. No sooner nor later.

    Now of course they saw wpf/e (Silverlight) was capable of entering a thriving market, so Microsoft have pushed it in that direction and loaded it with features (some unique, some trivial, some questionably copied). It was the right time for Microsoft to enter the market because a product to do so had just matured.

    As goes with all products of this type, it's being offered as a convenient means for users to achieve things, wether it suceeds will be testament to that alone and will make all hypothosizing beforehand meaningless.

    I believe the success of Silverlight Video may be dependant on effectively piggybacking Silverlight apps. Flash Video was able came to providence by first being used on the odd site, embedded into Flash-based websites. Wether people start using Silverlight depends on the quality of the content that can be created and viewed in comparison to Flash, if every other website asks the user "Would you like to install Silverlight to view this page" then Microsoft and partners have a userbase to push Video to.

    Finally, what's RSS got to do with a media player?

  4. e

    Go Team Adobe, kick 'em again!!

    Go Team Adobe, Kick them where it hurts. Microsoft's aggressive abuse of customer rights re: digital media and general unwillingness to 'play' with others has always struck me as their soft spot

    Adobe, thank you for choosing open standards and supporting my OS. As you well know, The Internet is built on open protocols & standards. Those standards came from innovative thinkers, not trade secret hoarders. Speaking as a Linux user of the 'just make it work' ilk: I greatly appreciate your contributions to date.

  5. Clay Garland

    All it takes...

    All it take is for Papa Microsoft to make windows incompatible, in the slightest way with flash, and the average user is just going to begrudgingly accept it. They've used such tactics in order to force upgrades of their own software, so why not use it to force users to downgrade to a microsoft product?

  6. Art Jannicelli

    DIVX forgotten

    If you haven't already you really ought to download the DIVX player. The quaility and compression are vastly superior to Flash or WMP. They even have their own web 2.0 site.

    It's a shame they haven't been noticed by the main stream. After using this player you'll never go to youtube again.

  7. J.Goodwin

    Too Late? Hardly

    Adobe has yet to deliver a 64-bit version of flash. This prevents it from working properly in the browsers that are shipping as the defaults in newer operating systems.

    The greater portion of the market for new processors is now 64-bit, so the problem is likely to continue to get worse. Meanwhile, Adobe has indicated that the flash source is tuned in nasty and unpredictable ways for 32-bit systems and is turning out to be a real piece of work to get working in 64-bit mode.

    The platform change is creating an opening for Microsoft to launch a competing format, and with their browser dominance on windows based PCs, they're probably going to be able to make a good run of at least installing capability to run this content on their systems, which has proven to be plenty to get such things up and running in the past (including Flash itself).

  8. Brennan Young

    RSS in a media player

    Chad Smith asked "what's RSS got to do with a media player?"

    In a word: Podcasting. Despite the ghastly name, you don't need an iPod to view syndicated video content. Apple's iTunes has RSS built-in for syndicated audio and video content. A certain percentage of people migrating from iTunes to Adobe Media Player will want RSS in their player. RSS support is a no brainer. It's easy to implement (you can build a simple video podcast viewer with Flash in a minutes), it's useful to some folks and perhaps it even shows some lukewarm promise. (Just perhaps).

    I would say Adobe have their work cut out making a media player (i.e. jukebox) which is as pleasant to use as iTunes, but let's see. (BTW I have ITMS turned OFF all the time).

    Personally I think podcasting is going the way of the first generation of 'push' content (remember that?) - i.e. down the toilet, but maybe we'll see it becoming useful some day, almost certainly in another incarnation.

    Note: I *do* use RSS feeds for news and web content (including the Reg) but not much else. Life's too short to have my computer nagging me about even more meaningless and trivial things I ought to catch up on. That those meaningless and trivial things should be weighed in MB rather than KB makes them even less attractive.

    Still, the kids seem to like it.

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