Director of Developer Platform Marketing, Brian Goldfarb, and Adobe's
Director of Technology Strategy, Anup Murarka, recently participated
in an interview together about their competing rich web
formats and what the future holds. Currently, Microsoft's Silverlight
and Adobe's Flash both are well entrenched, with a legion of
developers sitting on each side of the fence. However,
Microsoft and Adobe are both warily eyeing HTML5, an open standard
that could unravel support for their proprietary platforms.
terms of PC user base, Microsoft's latest figures show it to have 45
percent market penetration for Silverlight worldwide and 60 percent in Europe
and Asia. Meanwhile Adobe, benefiting from 10-plus years on the
market, is in 98 percent of computers worldwide. Reportedly, it
was able to bump 95 percent of users worldwide to Flash 10 within a
year of its release.
has a large developer base, but it isn't releasing exact figures.
Microsoft openly claims a developer base of 500,000 developers.
Its recent high profile content victories have included using
Silverlight for coverage of the Winter Olympics, the upcoming March
Madness (college basketball's annual championship tournament),
Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, and the Netflix Watch Instantly
service. Adobe, meanwhile, continues to control the rich
content backend for some of the web's biggest sites like YouTube and
is trying to make development easier for artistic types with
its Expression creative
development environment. Microsoft enjoys the advantage that
its .NET environment is familiar to many developers, but its lack of
availability on Macs turns off some artistic types. Adobe's
tools for making Flash applications (Flex, Flash Builder, and
enterprise applications using Eclipse) are less standard, but its
new Catalyst product
allows Mac developers and artists to get in on the action.
both Microsoft and Adobe were left scrambling by the introduction of
HTML5, championed, among others, by Google. HTML5 could scrap
the need for proprietary standards entirely, but both Adobe and
Microsoft are looking to sneak their rich media into certain HTML5
implementations. They are also working to make their content
more searchable, a key advantage that HTML5 currently enjoys.
pair also have to worry about scrapping in the mobile sector, a key
emerging market. Microsoft's Silverlight will be a key part
Mobile 7. Meanwhile, Adobe has inserted Flash into 19 of
the 20 mobile phone OEMs. The only OEM still left out of the
party is Apple, who makes the very popular iPhone. Apple has
refused to let interpreted code (Java, PHP, PERL, etc) run on the
iPhone, barring the possibility of Flash. Apple has also gone
as far as to personally attack the reliability
and necessity for Flash.
key third player is Sun's
JavaFX, which was first released in December 2008 and since has
been drawing substantial interest in the developer community.