Microsoft Silverlight and Adobe Apollo

I found this post through Reddit and found it particularly interesting. The first point it makes is that Microsoft's new Silverlight browser plugin is more than a Flash killer. Microsoft's apparent strategy is to give developers something more than a simple animation/communication tool--similar to Flex. Silverlight allows the browser to connect with server-side languages such as .NET, Ruby, Python, C#, and Javascript 3.0.

This is all very interesting, but the main point I want to draw attention are the strategies of Microsoft and Adobe. First, Silverlight seems like and interesting product, but Flex has been out since 2004 and if people decide not to go with it then they will probably not go with Silverlight--unless they have a prior investment in Microsoft technologies such as .NET. So here we have Microsoft making a stronger move onto the Internet by allowing people to make real desktop applications online--as opposed to (not fake, but flaky) ones by means of javascript. Second, Apollo is doing the opposite. Using either a normal text editor or the Flex Builder coupled with the Apollo runtime, anyone can create a desktop application with normally web technologies.

As the Web 2.0 move has been to create a richer, more desktop-like and open Internet, we find that Microsoft has found a new way to make this happen. Adobe made this move three years ago and are now trying to encroach on the desktop applications market by making programs easier to code. Is this a follow-the-leader game where Microsoft is yet again catching up and now Adobe is finding more ways to compete with them? What do you think of Silverlight? Further, how do both of these technologies compare to Java Applets?


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