Silverlight: Flash doesn’t matter

Microsoft SilverlightAfter listening to The Gang XVII, with its usual nuggets of awesomness (awesomity?) buried beneath hours of non-sequitur and Jason “Idiot Savant” Calacanis, I had to comment on something. The topic of Silverlight came up, and the comment was (paraphrasing) “why would all these Flash and Air developers bother to switch to Silverlight?”

Here’s the answer that wasn’t touched on in the show: it doesn’t matter a goddamn. Microsoft doesn’t need anyone to switch anywhere. They already have the largest and most influential group of developers on the planet a massive number of .NET developers. And you can bet that (just like .NET) there will be a Silverlight interpreter for Java.

Think back to VB6 and even VBA. It makes no difference what the academics think about a language or platform. If you build it, and it’s easy to use, they will come. It will take just one or two good viral apps to get Silverlight ‘stealth installed’ on the majority of PCs. To date the only Air app I’ve seen was the Pownce client, and it just pissed me off the way Air was so intrusive and non-intuitive. Adobe: I don’t want to run web apps on my desktop!

I want to run desktop apps on my web.


  1. They built ActiveX, not everyone came. Silverlight is cross-platform (on the desktop).

    Will it run on Symbian, iPhones and Android?

    I wonder also if even Flash is something that should run on phones. Complex UIs aren’t great for phones.

    That being said, “It’s the applications, stupid.” (or so they say)

    Will there be a killer (or rather, tear inducing) app for Silverlight? Video was the killer app for Flash and it really wasn’t an app.

  2. ActiveX was never cross platform. And yes Silverlight runs on Windows Mobile, so you can bet it will be on all other mobile platforms.

    Silverlight is Apple’s trojan horse into the enterprise market, so Steve will be all over Silverlight on the iPhone.

  3. Hmmm good point Matthew. Still, there are probably thousands more VB/C programmers than flash developers. I don’t see flash anywhere on those charts.

  4. True there are thousands and thousands more VB/C developers than Flash but it doesn’t mean those developers should be doing Web/Silverlight work. The VBA people writing functions for Marge in accounting won’t be doing Web work. But the mindshare of design oriented developers on the web are using Flash.

  5. “I don?t see flash anywhere on those charts.”

    Search for actionscript on the site. It’s small but then C# surely includes all kinds of non-SilverLight stuff.

    Considering that C# and SilverLight is client and server side perhaps it would be appropriate to compare the numbers of C# to JS/HTML/PHP/Java/Flash considering that they’re often part of the alternative stack.

    By the way, unless Microsoft change their patents they won’t receive much Linux uptake. Their agreement with Novell isn’t compatible with Debian, Redhat, or Ubuntu licensing.

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