I try to avoid being negative on my blog but I realise that its been sliding that why over the last few articles. I promise I be more positive in the future...
I have been noticing more and more pro-Microsoft sites (the ones that bang on about the latest laptops and Internet Explorer patches in the same way Apple-worshippers go on about Safari updates and the MacBook Air as if it was a gift from God) have started asking me to install 'Sliverlight'... Absolutely not! There is no chance I am going anywhere near this rival to Flash. Why do Microsoft have to keep inviting themselves to other people party's? They must have taken one look at the latest Flash Player statistics, saw the figure: '99% Penetration' and just couldn't resist a piece of that action. They have done this before.
Look at Internet Explorer. Back in the 'good old days' most users I knew used to install Netscape Navigator rather than use Microsoft’s IE. It was by far the superior browser, came with all sorts of other groovy web apps such as an email client, and was free (unlike Outlook). Microsoft soon cottoned on to the fact that if they could control the browser they could essentially control the internet. The used all sorts of dirty tactics to gain superiority over their better rivals and even had legal action taken against them so users could still be given the illusion of browser choice. Now, what PC users are left with is an operating system with the web browser integrated into almost everything. This is one of the reasons Windows has so many security risks. Most users now can’t be bothered to install anything else and you even come across websites where developers haven’t bothered testing on anything other than IE. And even this wouldn't be a problem if Microsoft hadn'yt seen fit to bastardise CSS. Somethig there were only able to do after they'd won the War of the Browsers.
I'm hoping that people shy away from Silverlight and don’t give Microsoft the chance to get a foothold on interactive and streaming content (because we all know that’s what they are after.) Yes, Silverlight seems to have a good technical spec but Adobe Flash is extremely good, has been number one for years and is the web standard. We don’t need yet another pluggin to install on our browsers.
Another reason to stick with Flash is because of the existing knowledge-base. The design industry has been using Flash for years and Flash content is of a very high quality. It seems to me that currently the only people authoring in Flash are Microsoft-sycophantic techies. Whilst these people are no doubt highly skilled at coding they don’t seem to have the design flair that makes Flash content of such a high standard.
So Microsoft - if it ain't broke, don't fix it! (Your time would be better spent fixing all your products that ARE broke!)