Microsoft is rolling out Silverlight, its competitor to Adobe's Flash technology, today at the Mix '07 event in Las Vegas. I'm sitting in the audience waiting for the keynote to start and will report on interesting developments as they happen.
For a news preview, see Martin LaMonica's story on News.com, Microsoft opens up on Web strategy at Mix '07.
Ray Ozzie on stage now, saying that the "pendulum is swinging once more," in the Web vs PC world. The "vs." is the Web, openness and "creepy behavioral analytics," vs. freedom and openness. Did he really say that? Yes, but at the same time he's pushing the flexibility of the Web and talking about the "power of browser extensions" and the growth of rich internet applications.
The richness of apps that people need, and the number of platforms (mobile, gaming, PC, etc), makes things complex for developers. What's a developer to do?
There are "Universal Web" apps that have to run on everything, and "Experience First" apps that are designed to maximize the user experience on a particular device. Ozzie runs down a potential breakdown - Web for universal app, downloaded app for richer interactivity. Doing both brings together "best of the Web and best of the device," is very powerful, and keeps the "service as the hub."
So what's the news? Silverlight was announced two weeks ago, Ozzie says. Today he's announcing that Microsoft is bringing .Net technology together with Silverlight. "Silverlight brings .Net to the universal Web." Showing demo now of desktop apps using Silverlight running against Web-based apps.
Apps include rich content browsers (watch the pages turn), 3D worlds for gaming and shopping, media, and cool 3D analytics.
Ozzie recognizing that most media is created on the desktop even though it's viewed online. MS releasing full suite of tools for media people and designers. Expression Studio is officially shipping today.
Ozzie announcing new APIs for developers to give developers access to MS apps like Virtual Earth. And with those new APIs, new commercial license terms for using them.
New cool "zoomability" API for navigating pictures. Based on PhotoSynth. This is actually very cool.
Silverlight is just one of MS' "foundational investments." "Today beings the conversation and refinement" of the technology.
New part of Silverlight: "Silverlight Streaming," which allows developers to post apps to Microsoft's "storage server in the cloud," for delivery to publishers' Web sites. "It's on us (with some reasonable limitations)."
The pendulum has swung from pure software to pure service, to a blend of software and service.
Ozzie bringing up Scott Guthrie now, for demos.
A new Microsoft software plus service: Silverlight Streaming (ZDNet)
Ray Ozzie: Silverlight + .NET and 'experience first' software (ZDNet)
Images: Dawn of Silverlight (ZDNet)
Various Silverlight videos--including a webcast of this event (Microsoft)