NBC, the NFL, Flash and Silverlight

September 9, 2008
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Silverlight Logo
Much has been made in the blogosphere about the recent announcement that the NBC/NFL deal. NBC announced recently that they would be showing their live NFL games over the web via Flash versus Silverlight. I’ve heard a lot of hyperbole on both sides about why this happened.  I am deferring to something who I think actually doesn’t have a horse in this race, an online video business analyst:

To quote him (if you haven’t clicked over yet):

It’s a shame that in our industry, some bloggers are more concerned with writing a headline just for drama sake, as opposed to actually getting the details right. In the past few days, at least half a dozen sites said that NBC was “dropping”, “dumping” or “ditching” Silverlight in favor or Flash for streaming of football games on NBCSports and…Problem is, none of this is true.

As far as I can tell, the decision was a business decision and not a technical decision. Let’s try and be honest and not religious about this. Both Silverlight and Flash are great technologies. As someone who has invested a lot of time and money in Silverlight, I’d like it to do well but I could never say that it is superior in every way to Flash/Flex…because that just isn’t true.  Hopefully pundits on both sides can do the same.

In fact, I am of the opinion that the best thing to happen to Flash developers was Silverlight.  Huh?  Yeah! The reason this was so good for Flash is it forced Adobe to start paying attention again. Competition is good for everyone and Adobe is being pushed on both features and price to be competitive with Microsoft. In that ecosystem everyone wins.