back to article Microsoft targets Barmy Army with Silverlight

Microsoft was embarrassed when Major League Baseball dumped Silverlight, the company's fledging browser-based media player it had signed onto in less than a year. It was the second blow to Silverlight. NBC - who'd used Silverlight to stream its Olympics coverage - picked Adobe Systems' Flash for its online NFL coverage last …


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  1. Nicholas Moore


    Just so you know, this year's IPL isn't actually being played "on the subcontinent" this year - due to the elections in India and the high likelihood of violence, they're being held in South Africa...

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    So now we know what Ossama bin hiding

    Did you know that if you lifted Sweden up on its southern edge and dropped it over, Lap'd Land in Saudi Arabia? Well, Naples, but whose counting?

    Where is the bush icon for smart bombs?

    Oh dear. Time for bed.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But wait...

    Aren't we always being told about the level of piracy in the Indian subcontinrnt? Doesn't silverlight need WGA to have checked out before it will install?

  5. Professor Quatermass
    Jobs Halo

    Release superb dev tools for Mac OS X and THEN ...

    ... and ONLY then will Silverlight shine brightly. Here in the Rocket Group, we only run OS X and wouldn't dream of developing our propaganda - ahem, official fact sheets - with anything other than Adobe tools.

    If Microsoft want to succeed, flood the Macintosh with terrific media development tools and then they'll win at last.

    Apple could have sewn up the market in the 1990's if they ever bothered to release a halfway decent IDE for QuickTime rather than relying on a handful of not-quiet-enough tools like LiveStage and such.

  6. Brian Whittle

    Please Please

    I wish it would take off, maybe Adobe would then get their finger out and sort out flash for OSX

  7. Dave

    Re Urrr...

    Don't tell Microsoft - they'll end up showing pictures of empty grounds in India, while the real action is in progress in South Africa.

  8. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Reinventing the wheel and "Ain't broke, don't fix it."

    What's wrong with Flash? I'm all for innovation, but I want you to wow me, show me some genuine innovation, not just rehashing something that is already working perfectly well just 'cos you want a share of the market.

    Sorry MS, but these days you can't get away with that anymore, you're going to have to try a little harder now.

  9. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    Also, Silverlight is not cross-platform

    "but there's one big problem Microsoft and Silverlight must still overcome: the ubiquity of Flash. "

    And it never will overcome this problem unless Microsoft is serious about it being multiplatform. Silverlight 2 runs on Windows XP SP2, Vista (and probably newer Windows versions..) and Mac OSX 10.4.8+ on Intel only. Oh and Win2K, but ONLY on IE6 (barf!!). That's it -- note, Moonlight doesn't count, I've run it and it's essentially non-functional.

    Flash? Flash 10 is available for Linux, Windows all the way back to Windows 2000, OS X 10.4 and up *including PowerPC*, and Solaris. Flash 9 (which still works for just about any site I've been to) will even work on *98 and ME*, back to OSX 10.1, plus all the phones and PDAs that have Flash now.


    Microsoft can ignore basically everything but Windows & MacOSX on brand new hardware if they want, but they should realize one influence on Flash's high usage... web developers that feel making web-standard web pages is important and will absolutely not use plug-ins, will use flash anyway if they have to because it'll run on (and is installed on) almost everything anyway.

    Before these people will even DREAM of taking Silverlight seriously, Microsoft will HAVE to 1) give Novell etc. whatever help they need to make Moonlight actually functional. 2) let them include video codecs *with* Moonlight, not as a seperate download; a silverlight clone that won't play videos is absolutely second-class. 3) once moonlight works, start porting it to as many PDAs, etc. as possible as fast as possible. Also, port either moonlight or silverlight for real browsers on Win2K; even among Windows users, noone in their right mind uses IE6.

  10. mike

    Re-inventing the wheel

    Well, I can't see many 'professionals' choosing silverlight over flash or AIR, particularly when big players like the BBC are using Adobe based products.

  11. ffrankmccaffery


    its just aswell i dont give a fuck for this micky mouse version of the great game that i wont bother much with this one. but its still worrying, especially for future other broadcasts that i will be interested in

  12. Andrew Barratt

    The mono version is rubbish too

    The mono version on linux is rubbish too, cumbersome to install and has yet to play anything I've pointed it at.

    Keep going MS, you will only make flash the defacto choice.

  13. Eric Van Haesendonck
    Thumb Down

    The problem with silverlight.

    The problem with Silverlight is that it is not available on enough platform, and that the version level varies depending on the platform.

    On windows and intel Macs it's on version 2, on Linux it's on version 1 and it is not available on non-intel mac and on the Wii. It is also available only for Firefox, IE and maybe the Mac's native browser (I don't have a mac, so I can't confirm this). There is no support yet for opera or Chrome.

    Microsoft should first ensure that the plugin is available on more platforms at a consistent level before pushing the technology in the mainstream, or it will antagonize the user and give the technology an image of "do not work" with the public.

    The Olympics were a big debacle for Microsoft because it was the time when the Linux Netbooks were starting to be very popular and the Linux plugin was not yet ready, so the olypics videos didn't play on the latest gadgets. This resulted in a black eye for NBC and a lot of people going to torrent sites instead of NBC.

    Recently i went to a site with my Linux Netbook and the site asked me to install the latest plugin, and redirected me to moonlight (the Linux version of Silverlight), only after i installed the plugin it still told me I was missing the plugin because it expected Silverlight 2, which is not yet available on Linux. The result: SILVERLIGHT DOESN'T WORK!

    Flash on the other hand works on Linux and the Wii, meaning that Silverlight suffers badly in the comparison

    First make it work on all the platforms that tour competition supports, then promote it! Going the other way around WILL antagonize the users to your technology.

  14. Cliff

    Encoding for Silverlight vs Flash

    I've been looking into all of this stuff recently and there is an easy win here for Microsoft if they go down their old route of giving away the tools you need for the client. Now I can encode excellent quality video to Flash for a $99 VP6 codec from ON2 (the best streaming codec for flash, beats the H.264 implementations) or use other codecs for free. For Silverlight I have to pay £hundreds for an encoder, and the clients need to install a component they sorta already have with Flash. Everybody loses.

    If MS want big market reach, give away the encoder with video quality similar to or better than VP6 and then developers like me may consider playing with it and offering it as well as Flash, and if there's a home version of the encoder with a noddy UI you'll get growth there too. I really can't understand why MS are charging for this and whining about market share when you can encode for Flash for free with the transcoder "super" from eRightSoft or Adobe Media live Encoder for streaming.

  15. Dave


    That is all.

  16. John Angelico
    Gates Horns isn't available

    I just tried to add my statistics to the site but received a peremptory 503, or a very brusque 404.

    Could they be testing Silverlight right now?

    Sorry for the inconvenience...

  17. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    Have to pay for the encoder too?

    "For Silverlight I have to pay £hundreds for an encoder"

    Oh even better 8-)

    @Andrew Barratt, yeah, the Mono version is Moonlight. It is rubbish.

    @Eric Von Haesendonck, "it still told me I was missing the plugin because it expected Silverlight 2, which is not yet available on Linux. The result: SILVERLIGHT DOESN'T WORK!" Oh rest assured there's a Moonlight 2 prerelease. Of course it doesn't work. It asks to download codecs (if the Silverlight page has any videos), then either complains you need Silverlight 2, or doesn't work at all (on most pages -- a few demos do work.)

    @Cliff "If MS want big market reach, give away the encoder with video quality similar to or better than VP6 ". You're right, I hadn't realized people had to spend that kind of cash for an encoder for Silverlight. Making a free version would help.

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