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Watching the 'Microsoft killers' come and go

Responses to an earlier column suggest that Adobe may indeed be onto something, says CNET News.com's Charles Cooper. What do you think?

Readers responding to my Friday morning column seem to agree that Adobe has come up with an interesting wrinkle with its Adobe Integrated Runtime technology.

Check out the vigorous discussion going on in the Talkback section of the piece. At the same time, I've received a ton of private e-mail. One, in particular, stood out. The author, who asked to remain unidentified, described the goings-on at a small financial services firm where many of the developers enjoy close relationships with Microsoft.

Within the last couple of months, there's been a shift away from .Net for front-end development in favor of the Salesforce platform (which has begun using Adobe Flex--and likely also will use AIR in the future).

"Like you, having watched "Microsoft killers" come and go over the last 23 years (starting with the Apple Mac and going from there), I have often been dubious of such pronouncements. However I actually think that Adobe may have come up with a killer platform. When I see a group like my friend's turn their back on a platform they have been working on for five years in favor of Adobe's technology--then I am guessing that Adobe might be on to something."

Ultimately, he said, it came down to considering the relative ease of adoption (or should that be "difficulty" of adoption) of the competing technologies.

"It is a damn nightmare getting a standalone application installed on the client side. It is simply much easier to install browser-based applications using technology such as Flex than any technology that Microsoft has so far come up with. I still have nightmares over failed .Net installs that would take out other client applications when trying to install our own software in my previous job."

It's always dicey to extrapolate from a small sample of e-mails or public posts--and I'm not going to try now. But I'm hearing a lot of stories in a similar vein. What about you folks out there?