It was almost a year ago when Microsoft and Adobe went head-to-head because of the built-in PDF functionality that Office 2007 was supposed to include. Adobe was obviously afraid that by Microsoft incorporating the ability to save a document as a PDF, that they could lose out on people needing their tools. In the end Microsoft had to provide the feature as an add-on that can be downloaded at no cost.
Now they are both at it again because Microsoft is launching a new technology called Silverlight and Adobe introduced a media player. Both of the offerings aim to make the user’s media experience on the Web more feature-rich while also making the media transfer more efficient.
Here are some snippets from Microsoft’s press release on Silverlight:
Microsoft Silverlight, previously called Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere (WPF/E), integrates with existing Web technologies and assets to provide higher-quality experiences with lower costs for media delivery. Delivered to end users through a seamless, fast installation, Silverlight offers consistent experiences to both Macintosh and Windows users on a variety of browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari.
Leading media companies and solution providers have announced support for Silverlight including Akamai Technologies, Brightcove, Eyeblaster, Limelight Networks, Major League Baseball, NaviSite Inc., Netflix, Pinnacle Systems Inc., Rhozet Corp., Skinkers, Sonic Solutions, Tarari Inc., Telestream Inc. and Winnov. All have indicated plans to deliver Silverlight-based experiences for their viewers and customers.
“Netflix is leading the way for people to rent movies for instant viewing over the Internet,” said Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt. “With 6.3 million members now and millions more in the next few years, Netflix needs rapid and reliable scalability so all members can enjoy DVD-quality movies immediately on our instant-viewing feature. We depend on Microsoft Windows Media technologies, and we’re excited about Microsoft Silverlight as a platform to enable instant watching of great content for all our members, on multiple platforms.”
Adobe plans on doing just about the same thing with their media player, and they even plan on dipping their hands in some Flash DRM! As NewTeeVee points out this will essentially be a video RSS Reader that retrieves the video listings from feeds. Here is what Adobe has to say about the media player in their press release:
For viewers, Adobe Media Player enables higher quality Flash format playback, the ability to download and view videos offline, ways to discover interesting new shows, full screen playback, one-click viewer ratings, and a powerful Favorites feature that automatically downloads new episodes of favorite TV shows or video podcasts. The player is cross-platform, based on open standards – including RSS and SMIL – and brings viewers the highly desired ability to play the Web’s most popular video format outside of their browser.
For content publishers, Adobe Media Player enables better ways to deliver, monetize, brand, track and protect video content. It provides an array of video delivery options for high-quality online and offline playback, including on-demand streaming, live streaming, progressive download, and protected download-and-play. The Adobe Media Player enables a wider selection of monetization and branding options including viewer-centric dynamic advertising and the ability to customize the look and feel of the player on the fly to match the brand or theme of the currently playing content.
Unlike Microsoft, Adobe is yet to announce any partnerships that they have already setup. Either they don’t want to tip off Microsoft as to companies that are looking for a better online media solution, or they don’t have any big companies like Microsoft.
One thing is for sure and it’s that this will be one big cat fight. Normally when two companies compete like this, the consumer is always the winner because they are constantly updating and innovating their technology.