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An Architect's View

Microsoft force-feeding you Silverlight via the Olympics?

August 10, 2008 ·

In an effort to get some adoption of its Silverlight player, Microsoft signed a deal with NBC to make Silverlight the exclusive delivery channel for online video of the Olympics. I'm not much of a sports fan so it doesn't give me any incentive to download Silverlight but my wife wrestled with the installer yesterday and spent fifteen minutes cussing Microsoft over the installation process (she's no fan of Microsoft these days after several years on a Mac where the only software that crashes regularly is MS Office). Has the MSNBC Olympics coverage caused you to install Silverlight? What did you think? Go on over to Mashable where they are running a poll about Silverlight and the Olympics to see whether people like the Silverlight experience or whether they prefer the Adobe Flash Player experience!

Tags: adobe · microsoft

7 responses

  • 1 Scott Stroz // Aug 10, 2008 at 12:18 PM

    Sean - I am a huge fan of the Olympics and was quite disheartened that all the online videos would only be availbele through Silverlight.

    However, I must admit, I have installed Silverlight on 3 computers at home (2 Windows, 1 Mac) and I have not had any issues with the installation or viewing movies. As a matter of fact, I am very hapy with my experience so far (and I think I have watched more coverage on my Mac than on TV - I love Handball). I have not had any issues running the plugin on either machine, and the video and sound quality is much better than I expected.
  • 2 Paul Houle // Aug 11, 2008 at 6:26 AM

    So far as the ecological effect on the web, Silverlight and Flash are the same to me. Although Flash claims to be cross-platform, the implementations on Linux and the Mac are terrible, and often late by years. Adobe might be getting better about it now because Microsoft's lighting a fire under their butt.

    In a lot of ways, I find Adobe's control of PDF and Flash to be more disturbing than Microsoft's control of IE -- because there are excellent browsers that compete with IE. In the age of Google, Microsoft isn't the evil empire that it used to be.

    Although I develop Silverlight in my day job, I'd never personally use it for anything more than an "applet" in a public-facing web site. A web site strategy built around Flash, Silverlight or any RIA that can't be easily navigated by a search engine is SEO suicide, even if search engines can see text embedded in the .swf or xaml file, they're not going to find all the stuff that the app gets out of XHR's.

  • 3 Jeff Self // Aug 11, 2008 at 7:02 AM


    Adobe no longer has control of PDF. It is now an ISO standard.

    I haven't installed Silverlight because I have no interest in helping Microsoft whatsoever. I'm glad it exists however. It has forced Adobe to look at the Mac and even Linux and doesn't treat those platforms as an afterthought. I'd like to see Adobe take the next step and open source Flash. I love Flex although I haven't developed anything yet. Waiting for our copy to arrive.
  • 4 TJ Downes // Aug 11, 2008 at 12:18 PM


    That's why they are called Rich Internet Application platforms and not Rich Internet Website platforms. ;)
  • 5 Dan Roberts // Aug 13, 2008 at 12:49 PM

    I was reluctant to do so but I installed Silverlight without a problem. Once that was out of the way the only thing that reminds me I'm not in a Flash application is the MS Silverlight logo. There could be some improvement in the strategy for how video content is organized and viewed but all seems fine technology wise.
  • 6 David // Aug 18, 2008 at 6:55 AM

    OMG, Silverlight is just AWFUL! It "buffers" worse than RealPlayer. I know I am behind a virus protected firewall, but to give you an idea - I can watch an entire day of the Masters or U.S. Open (Flash based) without a single interruption. Errr, that's if I *wanted* to watch a full day of golf at work, which I wouldn't ever do, but, I felt compelled to, for reference and research purposes only!

    Anywho, Silverlight - VERY underwhelmed.


  • 7 TJ Downes // Aug 19, 2008 at 3:28 PM

    No problems with Silverlight to date. Seems like a viable RIA platform. I think it has some catching up to do (with the Flash platform), but the video I've sen on the Olympics seems to be higher quality than anything I've seen on Flash in a while.

    Frankly, I welcome the competition! Although I may never develop Silverlight (notice I say "may never"), I think the competition is going to drive the adoption and evolution of RIA faster than ever.