Silverlight and Microsoft

by Krishna on May 1, 2007

I am really excited about the new Silverlight technology released by Microsoft. If you remember what Java applet technology (to a lesser extent) promised all those years ago and never really delivered, well — this is a much bigger promise. I think it has a great chance of succeeding because of the .NET momentum and Microsoft developer tools and community.

When we talk about Microsoft, many people (including those in technology like me) tend to forget that Microsoft is, at its roots, not really a product company. Although it makes a lot of money off the Windows operating system and Office suite, it is fundamentally a development tools company, something that started with the original Microsoft BASIC compiler. And that is what brings in the revenue for the rest of the product line.

Here is a metaphor to explain this. Let us say that you want to renovate your house. Say, there are several companies selling housing material. But 90% of the contractors you talk to only want to buy products from company A, even though the products cost more or they doesn’t look as great as the products from another company. When you ask them, they say that company A provides all the necessary tools and support. Their tools only work with their products, but they make the job much easier and risk-free. Here, the end user is not the decision maker; the application creator is.

Microsoft sells or gives away great development tools for every product they build. Even programming novices can create useful programs. Think Visual Basic. Think about how quickly a copycat language like C# is able to steal developers away from the mature Java language and establish itself as one of the foremost programming languages on the market.

There is all this talk about Microsoft vs Google, which I think is rubbish. Like Microsoft, Google has a core which is related to search intelligence, findability and relevance. Every successful Google product (Search, Adwords, Gmail, News) has these core attributes. For example, Gmail would be just another Yahoo! Mail wannabe if it didn’t have email grouping, amazing fast search and tagging.

Each can succeed by leveraging its core competency. In my view, each company has several untapped markets it can service by tapping into its strength. For example, Microsoft has not made significant inroads into the Ruby/Python developer tool space. Google is still expanding into video search — is podcast search the next thing on the horizon?

{ 4 comments }

FX2000 May 2, 2007 at 10:54 am

@Krish: Hmmm...there are chances that Google might enter into desktop OS arena competing directly with Microsoft, there by giving way for Microsoft Vs Google, have jotted down some facts that I am happen to come across:-

They (Google) have written their own file system GFS (Google File System), which is capable of handling 64MB blocks of data at a time. The file system was designed to assume that a failure, such as a failed disk or unplugged network cable, can happen at any time. Data is replicated in three places, and there is a "master" mechanism that can locate copies of a piece of data, such as a keyword index, if the original is out of commission. – A core for any operating system

Google has hired two worlds most renowned OS techies: - Mark Lucovsky noted for being a part of the team that designed and built the Windows NT operating system. & Rob Pike - member of the UNIX team and was involved in the creation of the Plan 9 from Bell Labs and Inferno operating systems, as well as the Limbo programming language. What does Google want to do with Operating System gurus?

The Register has reported that Google has confirmed it's working on Goobuntu, its own version of Ubuntu Linux.

Krishna Kumar May 2, 2007 at 12:36 pm

@fx2000

I am not sure if they are actually going to release it to the market. A couple of links: from Mark Shuttleworth" and Wikipedia.

I suppose if anyone could release a new OS and try to compete, it would be Google. Whether they should is a different story - their resources would be much better spent on search and advertising related businesses instead of fighting against Windows, MacOS X and Linux.

FX2000 May 2, 2007 at 6:12 pm

This speculation has been around the market since 2004.
ReadWriteWeb.com has an interesting article on this:
GoogleOS: What to Expect.
I personally like the "A Lightweight Linux Distro or BIOS" mentioned in the article 😉

Valene Morain March 6, 2010 at 11:08 pm

Hi, I found this blog post while searching for help with fixing Microsoft Silverlight. I've recently switched browsers from Opera to Firefox 3.2. Just recently I seem to have a problem with loading websites that use Microsoft Silverlight. Everytime I browse website that requires Microsoft Silverlight, my browser crashes and I get a "npctrl.dll" error. I can't seem to find out how to fix it. Any help getting Microsoft Silverlight to function is greatly appreciated! Thanks

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