April 15, 2007 9:01 PM PDT

Microsoft sheds light on Flash rival

Microsoft's answer to Adobe Systems' Flash Player has an official name--Silverlight--and a coveted target audience: media and entertainment companies bringing video to the Web.

On Monday at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft launched Silverlight, a Web browser plug-in for playing media files and displaying interactive Web applications.

The company intends to release a beta of Silverlight, formerly called Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere (WPF/E), at the Mix '07 conference for designers and Web developers in Las Vegas later this month.

Along with the public launch of Silverlight, Microsoft announced a number of media and advertising agency partners that have shown interest in using the software. Partners include Major League Baseball, online video broadcaster Brightcove, Netflix and Akamai Technologies.

Also at NAB, Microsoft introduced a digital content management tool called Interactive Media Manager. The company says the software works with its existing SharePoint Server product and is targeted at companies in media, entertainment, advertising and marketing. No price was announced.

Silverlight, which has been under development for at least two years, is a player that can display Web applications on both Windows and the Mac in Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari. The download of the player will be less than 2 megabytes.

Like Flash, it has accompanying development tools for both designers and software developers.

By launching Silverlight at the NAB conference, Microsoft is trying to spark the interest of media companies moving online. The company's Windows Media Video format is widely used, particularly for downloads. But Adobe's Flash Player has become the dominant choice for streaming video used by high-volume sites such as MySpace.com and YouTube.

Brightcove, for example, displays all of its video using Flash, but the company intends to support Silverlight as an output format later this year to appeal to customers who have shown interest in it, said Adam Berrey, vice president of marketing and strategy at the company.

"The most significant thing about Silverlight is that it basically puts the...Windows Media Video format in the browser in a really seamless way," he said. "The reason we haven't supported Windows Media Video until now is because we felt that the user experience wasn't there."

Brightcove will continue to build all its software, including tools that enable content providers to upload video to the Brightcove service, using Adobe's Flash and Flex development tools, Berrey said.

Stealing the limelight from Adobe?
With the rapid rise of Web video, the competition between Microsoft and Adobe is set to intensify.

Microsoft has existing customers in the media industry looking to introduce more online content. It is also looking to move beyond its huge base of software programmers into the realm of graphics and Web designers. Adobe's products for creative professionals represent more than half the company's income.

For its part, Adobe is looking to marry Web development with content authoring. Its recently introduced Creative Suite 3 allows designers to publish content, such as photos and videos, in print, on the Web or mobile devices.


At the NAB Show, Adobe plans to announce the Adobe Media Player, formerly code-named Philo, free software for playing Flash format videos offline. Later in the year, the company plans to release Adobe Media Player, which will let a user pick and manage RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds of video podcasts.

Forest Key, director of product management in Microsoft's Server and Tools Division, said Silverlight will offer advantages over Flash. Windows that display streaming video within a browser page can be resized because Silverlight uses vector graphics, he said. Microsoft also will offer content publishers digital rights management tools.

In addition, developers familiar with Microsoft's .Net tools for writing Windows or Web applications can use their existing skills for online video.

Later in the second quarter, Microsoft plans to release its Expression suite of tools aimed at graphics designers and Web developers.

At the NAB show, the software giant intends to demonstrate its Expression Media Encoder, a tool for preparing existing Windows Media Video files for the Web.

The user interface design for Silverlight is written using a Microsoft-developed language called XAML.

CONTINUED: Silverlight to go mobile…
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Posted by tasehagi (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's funny that Apple owns the silverlight.com domain name and it is some sort of password protected website - does anyone know what it is all about?
Posted by a85 (104 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Site not owned by Apple . . .
Whoever owns the "silverlight.com" name created his page using
Apples "iWeb" webpage builder ;-)
Posted by K.P.C. (227 comments )
Link Flag
"Due to enhancements in new version, Silverlight is now Windows only"
No, not happened yet. It will happen if industry is genius (!) to
lock themselves to MS technology.

Also, what about Linux? Flash 9 exists even for Solaris x86.
Posted by Ilgaz (573 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Will only work half-a$$ed on other platforms
As with Windows Media Player while Microsoft will technically be
able to say it works with other platforms like the Macintosh in
reality it will work "properly" or "full featured" only with Windows
I'm betting. Yet another trojan horse from the bowels of Redmond.
Posted by lkrupp (1608 comments )
Link Flag
You have to give some consideration to the whole bunch of us out here and have no access to high speed unless we buy a Hughes dish. That is way out of the price range of the same folks who don't have access to DSL or any high speed access. Even if the content suffers a little in quality, I'd much rather have the reduced quality of a 40kbps stream than constant buffering which makes it worthless. Someone has to give a little and ATT seems to not care about picking up 30 customers here or 40 over there. I thought algore was going to fix all this when he invented the internet.
Posted by pictureyourride (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
One possible problem
This product is "targeted at companies in media, entertainment, advertising and marketing".

And from what I've read that industry is predominately Mac now, and Apple is gaining even more marketshare.

Could be a hard sell if it is Windows only.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I would like to believe you are right.
If Mac could gain more market share, their prices a bit lower and all their software venders lowered their prices. I would get rid of all my PC's (My Vista machine first) Probably (not that I really want to) keep one WinXP Pro computer (would not want to corrupt my possible Mac in any way by putting XP on it) and go buy a MAC!!!! Except I have one piece of software that is so important to me and that is what is really stopping me right now! :-< Then again, perhaps if the business world suddenly got really really smart and started buying Macs, the people who make my software will make it for the Mac also. I can only pray for the day that would happen for then I would be FREE!!! Yes!!!
Posted by Ted Miller (305 comments )
Link Flag
predominantly Mac
"And from what I've read that industry is predominately Mac now"

The industry used to be *exclusively* Mac. It has shifted away from that to a mixed PC/Mac industry.
Posted by KTLA_knew (385 comments )
Link Flag
customer always right
since 95 percent of the viewers who will hopefully watch this stuff, one would assume any customer focussed vendor / creator would deliver content in a format that works best, works without having to install / download / pay for etc . Since those 95 percent of customers are windows users, one would assume that the entertainment industry would deliver in a windows medium.

Of course, the industry you appear to hold high includes the likes of the RIAA and MPAA, so customer focussed may not be something they have yet subscribed to. RIP .
Posted by gggg sssss (2285 comments )
Link Flag
Needs to be part of the browser.....
I'm getting tired of all these "add ins" for browsers. Sure, I know MS got sued for forcing software on folks, but there is a fine line between forcing unwanted stuff and just making it easier for folks to use software.

I only hope the video playback ability of this is better than Flash. I hate Flash video. I use high res monitors, and get tired of postage stamp sized videos on web pages. I don't mind pixelization, if at least I can view the video better than what I can in the tiny format they are usually in.
Posted by scottwilkins (143 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If there was one company I could delete from the computing world...
It would be Adobe, and in a nanosecond...nothing is more bloated and crappy than Acrobat (hello, why in the hell would I want a "speed loader" taking up my RAM and slowing down my system? Morons)..

Then we have Flash sites. I SOOOOOO hate Flash, Authorware, or anything else resembling Flash...I've taken so many online courses for my business degree that used Flash that I'm about ready to throw some No Script and Flash Kill from the Firefox extensions site into my browser and deal with the resulting issues with my classes.

What I really hate the most about Adobe products is that they WILL not unload once in RAM w/o going into Task Manager and killing them. Hell, even Outlook with my 1.2GB mail file loads and unloads faster than Adobe's pile of trash...if I did not NEED the ability to write to .pdf files, and had not be given a free copy of Acrobat Pro, I would so ditch the pile of crap and find something else.
Posted by ctg44 (27 comments )
Link Flag
Yup!!! The WWW just got a bit more confusing. Boy do I feel so much at the helm. NOT!
Posted by Ted Miller (305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
aka "Flash with bugs"
According to the Buddhists, when you die there's a Flash of bright light, the Dharmakaya. If you recognize it, you are instantaneously freed from samsara, the endless cycle of birth and death. There is also a dull Silverlight, which leads you to further rebirth in samsara. You choose.
Posted by Xenu7-214951314497503184010868 (153 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Flash with Bugs. Yep.

No thanks.

I'll go for the Bright Light.
Posted by dansterpower (2511 comments )
Link Flag
I would have to disagree. Flash has been getting quite bloated and since Adobe acquired made things even worse.
Even though I don't think MS's tool will make any great inroads, it should shake up Adobe enough to get a great product back on track.
Posted by adlyb1 (123 comments )
Link Flag
Not again
Don't let Microsoft do to Adobe what they did to Netscape. Don't use their latest "Innovation" which is unproven and probably still in beta.
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yet another virus and attack vector.
Oh boy, yet another way for Microsoft to create a virus and attack platform.
Posted by Microsoft_Facts (109 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Stop, drop, and think
Assuming the worst is not very helpful. Especially with no proof, evidence, or even an actual product you can put your hands on.

Oh boy, yet another way for peoople to be clueless about what they post about.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Link Flag
Stop, drop, and think
Assuming the worst is not very helpful. Especially with no proof, evidence, or even an actual product you can put your hands on.

Oh boy, yet another way for peoople to be clueless about what they post about.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Link Flag
No Linux support
As expected it won't support Linux. Dump it.
Posted by compjobs (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Neither did the first 8 versions of Flash.
Posted by googlesaurus (10 comments )
Link Flag
What about all those Linux developers?
What I mean is, if open source developers are out there with
their proverbial develpment prowess, why don't they aim some
of that vaunted skill at this problem and come up with a Flash
and/or Silverlight media viewers?

Microsoft has hundreds of people working on this. How can they
compete against hundreds of thousands of programmers?

Of course, just because nobody's come up with a distribution
we'd turn over to our grandmothers to install, this new challenge
would yield the same result. Not as usable. Not consistent,
usable or attractive as the big software companies can produce.
Posted by ewelch (767 comments )
Link Flag
What does support linux?
The only game you can play is catch the monkey banner ad.
Posted by smilin:) (889 comments )
Link Flag
What does support linux?
The only game you can play is catch the monkey banner ad.
Posted by smilin:) (889 comments )
Link Flag
linux users are cheap
what content developer would waste time targetting a bunch of cheap linux users who expect everuthing for free? Too small a market to bother with, too cheap a demographic to get a return on investment from. And no, the people who run a linux server farm arent using those boxes to watch ads, watch movies, play games, so they don't count.
Posted by gggg sssss (2285 comments )
Link Flag
Make more window operation
Since Microsoft always steal other companies' software and develop into Microsoft production without penalty for monopoly then other companies should steal and create other operation system similarly like window and sell. I will be the first one to buy. Let start work other window system right now to competition with Microsoft.
Posted by Wander9s (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Before you can build a big business...
...you need to first go back to high school and learn English. That way, when you get up in front of a crowd and lie and bluff your way like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs or 99% of the other big businessmen or politicians, you can actually speak a real language that someone in the audience might actually understand.

Now, that said, at least Microsoft has had the brains to get away with stealing something everyone else was willing to pay for. Besides, Apple's been trying for years to do that, has a comparable (some say better...I don't really care for it) operating system in OS X. I will live with Windows' security issues and keep on using my government-grade encryption of anything important until there actually IS something better. Linux, and in my opinion, OS X, are not there yet, and that is just comparing to XP Pro / Media Center Ed. 2005, not even Vista, which I've never used.
Posted by ctg44 (27 comments )
Link Flag
Over my dead (media) body
Why the @!#^ does Microsoft have to control every app on the


Too much concentrated power in one company!
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That can be arranged
Go put your head back in the sand, you'd oppose the wheel too if MS had it, on the flat earth principle.
Posted by garrywdm (44 comments )
Link Flag
One thing....
I just have to say one thing about a company controlling media.....

iTunes, anyone?
Posted by revolink24 (1 comment )
Link Flag
As long as I can disable as ActiveX
I disable ActiveX. I can't see how anyone can read on the Internet with all these Flash ads animating next to the articles. I keep Active X turned off.
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I totally agree
I don't allow ActiveX controls to run in IE. And I hate distracting Flash ads when I'm trying to read. With AJAX, Flash is mostly obsolete anyway.
Posted by fcekuahd (244 comments )
Link Flag
Global Warming
Can you make a global warming game in Silverlight?

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://cognitivlabs.com/smallearthtest1.htm" target="_newWindow">http://cognitivlabs.com/smallearthtest1.htm</a>
Posted by azareus (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yet another failed "Dethrown" attempt
When is Microsoft going to come to grips with the fact they can't even make a descent operating system, let alone "dethrown" someone else who makes a great product. They will never dethrown iPod, Flash, or OSX. Give it up guys.
Posted by drtyrell (26 comments )
Reply Link Flag
so the 20 million who have baught vista aleady are too stupid to know what makes a good operating system? Says you? Who would want to dethrown ( is that liek throuw up?) what amounts to 5 percenmt of the market? Who would waste time?
Posted by gggg sssss (2285 comments )
Link Flag
You people are so jaded
You've never seen it, you've never tried it, it's bringing competition to Adobe's (bloated) flash player and all you can do is gripe.

If MS cured cancer you people would still gripe.
Posted by smilin:) (889 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If MS cured cancer..
Then the cure would be more deadly then cancer itself.
Posted by MSSlayer (1074 comments )
Link Flag
True... but...hehe
That is true.. but M$ would probably charge people for the cure. Oh yea... pharmaceutical companies do that.. never mind :\
Posted by aSiriusTHoTH (176 comments )
Link Flag
I have to agree. No matter what this story is about, as long as it has the word "Microsoft" in it, it'll get more replies than every other story.

I especially enjoy the comments about the Zune, as it clearly has nothing to do with the topic. Over 80% of the people who whine about Microsoft buy their products and in real life probably don't say a word. Forums are their release I guess.

"If you like the iPod" fits about just as well as the Zune comment.
Posted by AdamMoore (49 comments )
Link Flag
is it proprietary?
If it's a plugin that reads and plays flash, I'd like to know more about why Microsoft is doing this. If it's a complete development environment, then Microsoft has a lot of work to do.

There's a huge number of people out there who use flash in their development tools exclusively because it the best there is, period. Who would want to move to an inferior develpement environment?
Posted by mattumanu (599 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft = proprietary
If is wasn't proprietary then it wouldn't be Microsoft.

Now you know the answer, you don't need to ask this question again.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Link Flag
If you like the Zune ...
If you listen to music on a Zune, then this might be the media technology for you!
Posted by MichaelWorobec (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If you like the Zune ...
If you listen to music on a Zune, then this might be the media technology for you!
Posted by MichaelWorobec (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
And what does that mean exactly?

The sky is blue and the world is round. I figured i'd add things not relating to topics myself.

This project is made by a different sector of Microsoft, not the same people as the "Zune".

"If you like the iPod..."
Posted by AdamMoore (49 comments )
Link Flag
No chance on this one sorry Microsoft
No matter how much you change your IExplorer to try and make your technology the better choice you will not get past the Adobe to be the standard especially with it's flash technology and so long as you can always view flash no matter what you use most groups will see it as the sensable choice to represent their web system.
However saying that microsoft may get an edge in the widget market but you can bet your bottom dollar Adobe is no underdog here and could well end up uniting the Mac/PC/unix/linux/menuetos eventually in terms of widgets.
When you think about it this is Adobe's bread and butter here and those guys will fight every which way and how in a very well respected professional manner.
Posted by wildchild_plasma_gyro (296 comments )
Reply Link Flag
oh yes, they will...
because, all of a sudden, with the next release of IE, the MS plugin
will be automatically pushed onto your system, and - by accident -
the flash plugin won't be compatible anymore. And strange but
true, the API changed as well, forcing Adobe to turn to the EC to
sue MS to reveal the new interface. After a process of some years,
MS finally provides the new API to Adobe, but by then no single
website still uses flash.
Posted by dirk goedseels (39 comments )
Link Flag
Great for consumer
Adobe products are overpriced and full of bugs. Its nice to see Microsoft come in and as usual do it better than the competition.
Posted by TomboSlicko (23 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I can't stop laughing...
"Adobe products are overpriced and full of bugs. Its nice to see
Microsoft come in and as usual do it better than the competition."

Now THAT's funny!
Posted by lkrupp (1608 comments )
Link Flag
Spoken like a true Microsoft employee
If not, then you need to get a life.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft = Quality?!
Microsoft = Quality?! That's funny.
Microsoft &#38; good design don't mix one bit.

An MS employee once told me = "Rush to market, fix it later". I'm
sure the first few versions will be full of bugs and compatibility
issues. Serious designer/developers will stick with Adobe.
Posted by edgedesign (290 comments )
Link Flag
This is priceless
Can I have some of what you're smoking? (I just hope the delusions
wear off)
Posted by kentonr (25 comments )
Link Flag
Get a life!!!
Come on folks...I have changed 3 hard drives on my IPOD...all these products suck anyways.

I think its a corporate conspiracy to have all products not made with all the features in the world working with all the other products including my mobile, automobile and my wine cooler, to sell additional versions. We should standards like the clothing industry who manufacture clothes that do not fade or tear and the auto industry that make brakes that do not wear out. We should also support the auto industry because they make cars that do not go out of style and have upgradable bodies.

I think the bigger corporaate conspiracy is fostered by this community of folks get time during office hours to provide unconstructive feedback.

Posted by Apacheking (30 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Posted by donr2 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
One word, innovation. Why didn't someone come up with this sooner?

Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You should have a wink ;) not a smiley :)
to denote sarcasm... which I hope was your intent :)
Posted by Mark Greene (163 comments )
Link Flag

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