Microsoft Challenges Ubiquity Claims of Adobe Flash

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-04-06 Print this article Print

Microsoft came out swinging as reports on Major League Baseball's use of Adobe's Flash technology re-emerged to coincide with this season's Opening Day.

Microsoft came out swinging as reports on Major League Baseball's use of Adobe's Flash technology re-emerged to coincide with this season's Opening Day.

At issue is that contracted to use Microsoft's Silverlight for its 2008 season but chose to go exclusive with Flash this season as the preferred means of streaming baseball games via its subscription service, MLB.TV.

Indeed, CNET reported that MLB was less than enthused with Silverlight's performance. According to the CNET report:

"(Major League Baseball) has an ongoing dispute with Microsoft because of the significant problems we encountered last year," said Bob Bowman, CEO Major League Baseball Advanced Media. and Adobe announced a two-year agreement regarding the use of Flash last November.

However, in an April 6 blog post, Steve Sklepowich, a group product manager with Microsoft's Silverlight team, takes a jab at Adobe's ubiquity claims, saying:

"Today we saw that MLB went live with a video streaming solution that is built using Adobe Flash and the Swarmcast NexDef browser plug-in for their HD streaming video experience.  It is an example of how you can deliver higher quality experiences on the Web.  It also highlights how users are willing to accept additional browser plug-ins to get those experiences.

"While Flash 9 may have high penetration, the Swarmcast NexDef plug-in that helps power MLB's HD experience has virtually no adoption. Ubiquity here is a red herring - what customers really want are high quality solutions. Silverlight has been doing that since its inception and already supports the ability to deliver true HD using IIS Smooth Streaming with no additional plug-in required."

He then notes that "everyday Silverlight penetration is increasing..." and emphasizes that despite losing the MLB connection, Silverlight remains to be used for streaming other sports events such as the NCAA men's basketball tournament, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the upcoming 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the 2009 Masters Golf tournament.

Said Sklepowich:

"This is the first year that CBS is using Silverlight to power the CBS March Madness on Demand (MMOD) experience. They served high quality live video to over 5.6 million unique users and delivered over 6.5 million hours of live streaming content, in just the first 4 days.  This is a 71 percent increase over last year. MMOD this year is one of the most profitable, advertising-funded events in the history of online broadcasting." 

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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