Silverlight Makes the VRML Mistake

I guess Microsoft didn’t read this article. Silverlight will run on the Mac but can’t be authored there. This means at least half the people who might think about developing for it won’t be able to.

Just possibly Parallels may make this not quite as much of a handicap as the lack of native Mac support was for VRML. But mostly Silverlight looks a day late and a dollar short. I can’t see this taking any significant marketshare from Flash. The main converts will probably be sites already publishing Windows media. Adobe is willing to go to where the content creators and consumers are. Microsoft expects the creators and consumers to come to them.

Microsoft hires smart people and they often come up with good ideas, but the execution is always hobbled by attaching the Windows ball-and-chain. Nobody at Microsoft is allowed to produce a product that in any significant way threatens the Windows core monopoly. Adobe and Oracle and Google and IBM and Sun don’t have this problem. Startups don’t have this problem.

The worst thing that ever happened to Microsoft was winning the antitrust case and not being broken up into separate operating system and application software companies. When good products are crippled or killed to protect other products, all you do is open up a window of opportunity for your competitors. A Microsoft applications company that didn’t care how their products would affect Windows would be a real threat to Adobe. Today’s Windows-über-alles Microsoft isn’t.

4 Responses to “Silverlight Makes the VRML Mistake”

  1. len Says:

    Maybe that is Apple’s mistake, not Microsofts. Maybe Apple should pay more attention to what their customers ask for instead of closing them in and trapping them on a platform they control.

    Maybe languages don’t fail. They just work or don’t work. People and companies fail.

    As for VRML, there has never been a time since 1995 that you couldn’t get a Windows editor for it or a viewer. Given that both you and Elliotte define failure in terms of the winner gets the big numbers, why would the VRML vendors want to write software for a failed desktop, the Macintosh. SVG is a complete flop. PHP, Python, Perl, fageddaaboutem.

    It’s an easy game to play. But meaningless. As long as a language is in use, it is surviving. COBOL is still running the banks.

  2. George Bailey Says:

    Silverlight isn’t a language. And what does Apple have to do with the topic?

  3. Wouter Says:


    Stop trolling.

  4. Paulo Melo Says:

    I agree with all except for the Adobe, Oracle, Google, IBM or Sun not having such a position as Microsoft.I believe it all depends on the specific agenda of each company.Why does Adobe Flex Builder has only one plugin for eclipse? Is it such a competitor to JSF that Sun’s Netbeans don’t look at it as a market for their developer IDE? Or is it Adobe that doesn’t want to develop for NetBeans…As the example above many can be found…

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