As I have been reading in many blog posts lately, I felt that I needed to make one point perfectly clear. Silverlight is not Microsoft’s answer to Adobe AIR, it is Microsoft’s competitor to the Flash Player. This means they now have a competitor to Flash in the browser. Sorry for the bold type, but I wanted to make sure my point was made. I know that many of the readers of my blog get this, but there still seems to be quite a bit of confusion.
Adobe AIR is a new technology that allows developers to take their web applications which were built using Ajax or Flash and move them outside of the browser where they can take advantage of desktop features such as file IO, system notifications, multiple windows, drag and drop, etc. I am not sure where the confusion is coming from, maybe just ignorance and the fact that Adobe AIR and Silverlight are getting a lot of press. But right now Microsoft does not have a cross platform runtime equivalent to AIR (not that I know of, I am willing to be proven wrong here if someone has that information.)
I am not trying to put down Silverlight here. Congrats to the Silverlight team, I am sure they are having some big parties this week after their launch. Silverlight is a good attempt at accomplishing some of the same functionality that we have provided in the Flash Player. But we do have a ten year head start and the Flash Player is installed on 98% of all PCs today (we just announced that Flash Player 9 is on over 90% of PCs.) But, we don’t take the competition or our current position in this market lightly.
As you can see by our recent announcements, such as the addition of H.264 to the Flash Player, we will continue to innovate and do everything we can to make Flash the best platform for building RIAs in the browser and now on the desktop within Adobe AIR. As Ted mentioned yesterday, we have a lot of things you will want to keep an eye on. Just wait until you see what we will be talking about at MAX!