MLB.com drops Silverlight for Adobe Flash

Adobe's Flash technology will help deliver streaming video of Major League Baseball games. MLB.com exec said Flash gave service more flexibility.

Microsoft is losing MLB.com, Major League Baseball's online unit and one of the Web's most successful subscription services, as a Silverlight customer.

MLB Advanced Media said Monday it will use Adobe's Flash Platform to deliver all live and on-demand video starting next year.

The deal, announced at the Adobe Max conference running in San Francisco this week, hands Adobe one of the largest and likely most profitable video services out there. MLB.com has signed up more than 1.5 million subscribers since 2003 and streams more than 2,500 regular and postseason games annually. Moreover, MLBAM has been a technological leader and is influential among Web video services.

"Microsoft has appreciated the partnership of MLB.com," said Microsoft Vice President Scott Guthrie. "Microsoft continues to be very pleased with the success of Silverlight. We have a great ecosystem that includes more than 150 partners."

Adobe's Flash Player is by far the largest video platform, installed on more than 98 percent of Web-connected content, the company said.

"Flash provides a TV-like experience. You turn it on and it works," said Bob Bowman, president and CEO of MLBAM. "We want it to be flexible so we can add features...and it's got to be scalable. We are the largest server of live entertainment in the country. Whether we are serving 20,000 for one game or 250,000 for another game, it's got to be scalable over periods of time like nothing else."

Bowman was tight-lipped when asked to provide specifics for how Adobe's Flash outperforms Microsoft Silverlight. "I'm going to reserve all my comments on Silverlight and suggest any comments I have, positive or negative, will be discussed at a later date."

Adobe's news comes on the same day that Guthrie posted a blog announcing a few details on Silverlight 3, which is due out next year.

Click here for more news on Adobe's Max conference.

 

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