Microsoft officially announced Silverlight, a “cross browser, cross platform plug-in for delivering rich media experiences” during the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference. The application, code named WPF/E, will effectively compete with Adobe’s Flash in delivering interactive applications made up of videos, animations and high quality graphics. Aimed at developers, media professionals and designers, Silverlight will easily run both on PCs and Macs.
Adobe is not far behind and is expected to announce a new version of their Media Player during the NAB. This improved version should be based on Apollo, a project Adobe has been working on for sometimes and which will allow users to run Rich Internet Applications (RIA) both online and offline. We recently covered the main innovations that Apollo will bring.
Will Silverlight successfully challenge Adobe’s media player, already the de facto application for major online video sharing sites like You Tube or Google Video? Among his list of 10 reasons for using Silverlight, Tim Sneath, technical evangelist for Windows Vista, states it will be “blindingly fast”, will support playback of WMV files both on PCs and MACs, and should provide “full runtime interactivity”. According to Business Week, Silverlight will probably be more versatile than Adobe’s product not only in terms of browsers it will run on but also the formats it will support. The upcoming announcement by Adobe should prove exciting for interactive content and surely inaugurate a tight race between Adobe’s Flash and Microsoft’s Silverlight.