Microsoft Takes Aim at Web Video with Silverlight
According to a blog post at CNET, Microsoft’s “cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of .NET based media experiences” also known as Silverlight is set to be released this week.
Silverlight is designed to be a competitive offering to multi-media development tools and plug-ins like Flash. Flash has been the development tool of choice for web based video publishers, and Microsoft would like to usurp Adobe’s dominance in this space.
Martin LaMonica with CNET states “Silverlight videos embedded within a Web page can be resized and have higher fidelity than Flash videos, according to Microsoft.”
Building a better mouse trap may be a good strategy for Microsoft; however, replacing a long time standard like Flash may prove difficult in the long run.
Considering Microsoft’s search product, one would think Microsoft might develop bot friendly elements within Silverlight to make indexing multi-media content easier for search engines. This type of functionality may provide a distinct advantage over Adobe’s Flash and give Microsoft the edge they’re looking for.
Higher resolution videos and resizable windows may be a big draw for web video publishers looking to differentiate themselves in the growing video space. However, in my opinion, for Microsoft to lead in online video, they may want to consider making multi-media content easier to index and search. Silverlight combined with video search through Microsoft Live would be an excellent way for Microsoft to drive adoption rates and differentiate themselves in online multi-media.
Of course, I’m not sure how search engine friendly the Silverlight development team is. For starters, the Silverlight home page can be reached at http://www.silverlight.net which redirects to http://silverlight.net/Default.aspx. The home page can also be found at http://silverlight.net which has no redirect and contains the exact same content as the /Default.aspx page.
Time will tell as to whether or not Microsoft has indeed built a better mousetrap and whether the video publishing community finds this better mousetrap useful.
The release expected this week is the Silverlight 1.0 Release Candidate with the final version scheduled for release before the end of the year. According to Microsoft Silverlight is “a flexible programming model that supports AJAX, VB, C#, Python, and Ruby, and integrates with existing Web applications.”