NBC Olympic Coverage Shines as Silverlight Proving Ground

Like Michael Phelps, Microsoft is chasing gold at the Olympics. With its Silverlight rich Internet application technology, Microsoft is helping NBC break records in online viewership.

Michael Phelps is not the only one breaking records and winning gold at the Olympics in Beijing.

If Microsoft's Silverlight continues to have the success it has had in streaming video coverage of the Olympic Games around the world, it could mean gold for Microsoft as the software giant continues its competition with Adobe and that company's ubiquitous Flash technology.

Adobe claims that up to 75 percent or more of the video on the Internet uses Flash. The company also claims a huge number of Flash downloads a day. In a recent interview with eWEEK, Adrian Ludwig, group manager of product marketing in the Adobe Platform and Developer Business Unit, said Adobe sees 10 million downloads of Flash each day. However, with the Olympics and the deal Microsoft has with NBC to stream the coverage, Microsoft officials said Silverlight has been downloaded up to 8 million times a day over the last several days.

"You have to look at things like the development perspective and what this all means for developers, and how this changes the game," said Brian Goldfarb, group product manager of Microsoft's Developer Division. "We've provided competition in a market that desperately needed competition."

Goldfarb also noted, "from a Silverlight perspective, this is an amazing opportunity to demonstrate what's possible with the technology. This puts a stake in the ground and [is] saying we're here. This may be the single biggest online event and Microsoft is empowering it."

And the 2008 Olympic Games are smashing old online records set for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. In the first four days of events, NBCOlympics.com surpassed the totals for the entire Athens Games in page views, video streams and unique users.