Microsofts Silverlight faces a major hurdle – the Flash Player that drives Flex/Flash and which Silverlight seeks to replace has 95% or better penetration on PC, Mac and Linux desktops. So how do you do this – if course, tap into the Windows monopoly and make Silverlight a default install on all those Vista (and nothing else available) on consumer PCs being sold through the retail channel. But Adobe counters by making the Flash player download very fast and dirt simple especially over broadband connections.
So the marketers at 1 Microsoft Way are no slouches and they start to buy sporting, music and other special events with video feeds on the Internet. The coverage of the World Juniors Championships on TSN in Canada is a big event – it gets country-wide attention. And the only way you can pick up the broadcast on the Web is thru a Silverlight plugin. I have already seen this for other events like bowl game coverage in the US and some musical extravaganzas in Europe.
This is a very clever way to get Silverlight onto computer desktops – but there are a few problem….
Unlike Flash Player, the newest Silverlight Player is not backward compatible with the old players and runtimes. Worse, the old players cannot displace the new player or co-exist. Users have to get rid of/delete the Silverlight 1.1y runtime in order to get Silverlight 1.1x to install and work. But then Silverlight 1.1y is no longer available on sites it works with – and which of course reject Silverlight 1.1x runtime.
Credit Silverlight marketing 5/5; credit Silverlight development 1/5 on this issue.