Saturday, November 06, 2010

Twilight For Silverlight

Once again a promising technology is quietly shelved with a low profile announcement. This time it's Microsoft's Silverlight, which has been deprecated in favoured of HTML5.

Regular readers of this blog will know that we're not fans of the Microsoft technology which, from its inception, was part of a confusing array of technologies underlying various Microsoft video platforms, ranging from the Microsoft Media Centre to the XBox.

Companies, such as ITV who misguidedly adopted the technology rapidly dropped it, and a major reason for my departure from the video platform company I founded, Narrowstep, was an adoption of Silverlight in favoured of Flash when the former was half baked.

This announcement leaves Sky, the only major player still using Silverlight, out on a limb, and the Sky Player experience remains hugely frustrating - the Silverlight installation process is very intrusive and almost feels like a malware install.

So why do Sky persevere, well, the DRM remains the best and easiest to use, and for a company that happily doesn't worry about copyright contravention in the distribution of its satellite signal in countries such as Spain and France, it seems paranoid about online seepage of its rights.

So, another promising technology bites the dust, and a lot of investment by smaller companies and clients falls by the wayside.

More than anything this shows how Microsoft misses the technical genius of Bill Gates, who was able to implement technical, architectural strategies which transformed his company - the browser wars win for IE and .Net being two examples.

Despite continuing success for its traditional platforms, under its current leadership Microsoft has singularly failed in the battle for the living room - its stated core objective - whilst Google are romping home to a victory, with its Android platform increasingly being adopted in the living room in TV screens and set top boxes.