You are viewing notboss

notboss' Journal [entries|friends|calendar]
notboss

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ calendar | livejournal calendar ]

Web Video Hypocrisy [14 Jan 2011|07:48am]
The HTML standards have provided a mechanism to deal with content a browser can't handle for a long time. The mechanism is called plugins. For example Adobe Flash can play video encoded with three different video codecs: Sorenson, VP6, and H.264. That's great for video providers who don't want to transcode their old Sorenson or VP6 video to H.264.

Well, rather it was great. Then Apple decided not to support plugins on their mobile devices. Apple's message was clear: you want video to play on our iThings, make it available without a plugin and encode in H.264.

Then Google announced that they will drop support for H.264 in Chrome. Now the same people who defended Apple forcing people to re-encode video are complaining that Google is forcing people to re-encode video.

Wouldn't it be better if Apple just supported plugins as described in the HTML5 proposal? Then we wouldn't have to worry about what video codec a browser supports. That would be progress!
post comment

The End of Apple's Tyranny [09 Dec 2010|07:38am]
As long as Apple was the market leader in high-end smartphones they could, within the law, call the shots. For the most part Apple tried to exercise a ridiculous level of control over what you could do with "their" devices. Everything from how you develop software for their phones to what applications you can buy were under their control.

Of course, it's still largely true. Apple still behaves like an ill tempered apartment landlord who believes they own you because you live in their building. But it doesn't matter as much anymore and will matter even less by the spring.

Google's Android operating system now accounts for more Web and mobile data traffic than all the iOS devices on the market today. Android, with 300,000+ activations a day, is far outselling iOS smartphones by a significant margin. The votes are in and Android is the dominant smartphone operating system.

iOS developers are now struggling with the difficult religious conversion of changing platforms from iOS to Android/Java or Adobe AIR/Flash. You can feel sorry for them if you want to, but the venture capitalists don't. They're telling them to develop for Android now, not later.

Thanks to Google, Apple's tyrannical bullshit is over. And, none too soon.
post comment

Silverlight Still Not Dead - Just Boring [02 Dec 2010|09:15pm]
Silverlight, like Windows Phone 7, isn't dead. They're both just boring. Nothing much new or interesting. Promised features aren't delivered in SL 5 because the team is too busy with WP7. If WP7 fails to build market share in the next year then Silverlight will be even more boring as the SL team works harder and harder to make WP7 worthy. This nonsense is likely to go on for years while the rest of Microsoft focuses on HTML5.

Yawn...
post comment

It's the Little Things that Make me Smile [28 Nov 2010|06:38pm]
We won't know about the winter holiday and first quarter sales until the spring. But, if you're as sick of Apple as I am, there's lots to enjoy until then:

1. lots of new and improved Android phones that look as good as, or better, than the iPhone 4.
2. nothing new in the iPhone from Apple (no surprise there).
3. marketing materials from Telecos regularly emphasizes Android ahead of Apple because they make more money that way.
4. Windows Phone 7 is getting more press than iPhone and Apple.
5. the press has lost interest in counting the number of crappy apps each platform has.
6. Apple's ban of an Android magazine app is wonderfully anti-competitive censorship. Most people get that Apple is behaving badly.
7. Skyfire's financial success is clear evidence that iOS users want Flash.
8. Jobs rants about the things that worry him: RIM and Android. (His attack on RIM should give them a warm feeling.)
9. Apple can't make a white iPhone - it's to die laughing that anyone thought it was news...
10. Apple's next iPad won't ship until Blackberry ships their tablet.

Of course there's more but everything points to Apple's reality distortion field dissipating. It may not last, but I'm enjoying it while it does.
post comment

OH NO!! Consumer Reports Still Doesn't Recommend the iPhone 4 [13 Nov 2010|08:23am]
Apple deserves this:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/210574/android_phones_sweep_consumer_report_ratings_beat_down_the_iphone.html

Next spring we'll get the results for the first quarter. Maybe it'll be over by then.
post comment

Apple Crushes Adobe in the Press [09 Nov 2010|06:41am]
Apple releases a small netbook with relatively small battery and what happens? Everyone blames Flash for running the battery down and Apple gets more publicity for its Netbooks. Steve Jobs may be a real jerk about plugins, but it sure isn't hurting Apple.

It is damaging Adobe. Until recently Kevin Lynch was the only one who seemed able to respond in a meaningful way to Apple. Not this time. Adobe is incapable of responding to Apple's "when did you last beat your wife" story line. Flash as a brand for consumers is dying. So are plugins as a platform. Microsoft's shift from Silverlight to HTML5 is only going to accelerate the process.

I think its too late for Adobe. They haven't done the competitive benchmarking/research needed to strike back in public. They don't know how to turn the argument inside out so that people question Apple's OS/browser-as-platforms for third parties to develop on. They don't know how to marshal the necessary information and public statements to repaint Apple. They also don't have the engineering to reach Silverlight/C#s relative level of performance.

It's likely too late because the press isn't listening any more. Maybe that's not such a bad thing. It took Lynch way to long to finally come out and complain about ten years of content being erased by Apple's refusal to support plugins on iOS. Maybe, as a company, they deserve this.
post comment

Adobe, Apple, and the Safari Plugin Tax [06 Nov 2010|11:07am]
Adobe's John Dowdell has finally come out and said it. Until this year Apple made it impossible for anyone to produce an efficient plugin for Safari:

"Apple finally removed the need for having the browser redraw itself every time a plugin redrew itself, which was the major performance drag on Macs for a long time"...

"Desktop Safari has removed that plugin tax within the last year, although I'm not sure which other Mac browser vendors have implemented it yet."

Here's a link to the page with his comment:

http://www.webmonkey.com/2010/11/going-straight-how-to-ditch-flash-and-embrace-the-future-of-the-web/

Now that the news is out about how Apple is largely responsible for Flash's poor performance on the Mac, will zealots like John Gruber wake up and apologize for their ill tempered screeds against Adobe and Flash?

Of course not.
post comment

"I'm committed to Silverlight! I moved to Redmond" [02 Nov 2010|07:11am]
Never underestimate how badly tech evangelists can screw up. Remember Adobe's Lee Brimelow telling off Apple? He was forced by Adobe legal to edit his post. Or VP of Sun, Tim Bray, writing about a corporate merger without talking to Sun's legal department? He deleted the post. (Don't get me wrong. I think highly of both of them as individuals, but not as evangelists.)

Now, after a storm of controversy following statements from Microsoft's executive, here are two Silverlight evangelists writing stories about their personal commitment to Silverlight. Both of them write how they relocated their family to Redmond because of Silverlight:

http://johnpapa.net/silverlight/committed-to-silverlight/
http://timheuer.com/blog/archive/2010/11/01/silverlight-is-dead-long-live-silverlight.aspx

This is much worse than Brimelow and Bray put together. Why? Because people who visit their blogs are looking for information - not personal testimonials. They are looking for strategic guidance on an evolving technology backed up by facts - not religious commitments.

But there are no facts to discuss. Microsoft's message is that HTML5 is the cross platform runtime - not Silverlight. Bob Muglia says Silverlight is still strategic for Microsoft. But that doesn't matter. It's like saying WPF is strategic. Developers looking for a cross-platform runtime on Microsoft's stack should invest in JQuery, ASP .Net, and using the canvas and video tags while the rest of HTML5 evolves. Unless you're creating yet another DRM enabled media player, Silverlight has been kicked to the curb.

If you must have the extra features of a cross-platform runtime the only option left is to use Flash where Adobe's strategic guidance is very different: Flash will run on Android, RIM, and as an application on iOS. That's the kind of guidance developers are looking for.

Personal testimonials from evangelists that basically say "I believe in Silverlight" are shockingly unconvincing and counterproductive. You only have to blink while reading them to realise the lights are out in Redmond. Silverlight and WPF are just facets of the same old thing. The cross-platform story is over. At least Scott Barnes had the good sense to go home and amuse us on the way. That's not saying much.
post comment

Android Sales Crush Apple in the US [01 Nov 2010|08:49pm]
You could see it coming. The telcos like to make money and Android phones give them everything they need to do that. Apple, not so much.

http://androidandme.com/2010/11/news/android-news-news/android-becomes-1-smartphone-os-q3-numbers-1309-higher-than-last-year/

Android smartphone sales have hit 44% of the US market. Apple's sales are down to 26%. Steve Jobs can spit on RIMs profits and rail about how Google isn't really open all he wants. It means nothing to consumers and nothing to developers. Developers don't care about Apple's profits, they care about their own. Developers want to sell software to as many people as possible. The smartphone OS with the most users wins. It's that simple.

Now with the holiday season coming along with a bunch of new Android phones and tablets we'll see where RIM and Apple end up later next year. We'll also see if Microsoft can get WP7 into the pipeline in time. I don't think the telcos will show big love for WP7 but I imagine some of them will give it a go.

Personally, I hope Apple is slowly crushed by competition from companies with a more open approach. It's basic economics, but its also better to live in a more open world - especially as mobile devices become more capable.

Update: 2010, 11, 3
You can see the impact of Android's increasing sales share on the overall number of phones in use by OS here:

http://mashable.com/2010/11/02/iphone-android-nielsen/

The graph is interesting. If Android continues on the same trajectory, next quarter there will be more Android smart phones in use in the US than Apple iOS phones. Apple's overall iPhone usage has levelled off and is starting to decline. iPhone 4 sales are included in the stats. RIM's losses are starting to level off.
post comment

Can 100,000 Silverlight Developers be Wrong? [01 Nov 2010|07:52am]
With IE 6 Microsoft tried to embrace and extend the Web via ActiveX controls. The result wasn't what they expected. The features they added were co-opted by the other browsers and developers discovered AJAX. So Microsoft extended the Web by accident and watched while Web developers moved away from Microsoft-specific technologies.

Microsoft's response was to abandon IE6 for years. They also ignored HTML5, slowed down the evolution of JavaScript at ECMA, and only revived IE to respond to security problems and clean up the worst aspects of their CSS mess.

In simple terms: Microsoft has been using the browser they ship with Windows to hold back the Web.

Microsoft's most recent foray into the Web was Silverlight - a browser plugin that brings parts of the .Net platform to the Web. For anyone concerned about the evolution of the Web, MIcrosoft's behaviour was outrageous. They held back the Web with one hand while promoting a Windows-centric development technology with the other.

At last weeks PDC the era of holding back the Web seemed to end. Microsoft is saying IE 9 will be different. It will not only implement HTML5 but it will do a world class job of it. Ballmer and Muglia announced HTML5 is the future of cross-platform applications.

For the millions of people who care about the Web, if Microsoft means what they say, this is wonderful news. But for 100,000 or so Silverlight developers this isn't good news at all. They love .Net's primary language C# and the other features of .Net. They want to be able to use them everywhere. Now they know they won't be able to. The world will move to HTML5/JavaScript. Their reaction to recent events is interesting. One group, see for example http://blog.galasoft.ch/archive/2010/10/30/my-position-on-the-silverlight-debate.aspx thinks Silverlight is still the answer to the limitations of the Web and not much has really changed. Others think Silverlight is dead and are mad as hell at Microsoft.

The truth is almost certainly somewhere in between. Silverlight is not dead and competitors like Adobe cannot afford to celebrate. If Microsoft follows through with Silverlight 5, developers will be able to do a lot with it that you won't be able to do with browsers for a very long time. But Silverlight isn't going to "light up" the Web either. Lighting up the Web is going to be done by the next generation of browsers. In a years time we'll see what that really looks like. I hope it includes new features in JavaScript and wonderful new development tools. So yes, 100,000 Silverlight developers were wrong. Today many of them are angry and asking Microsof to get back on track. Millions of the rest of us might be able to celebrate. We hope Microsoft is finally on track. The Web is going to be a richer place if they stay the course with HTML5/JavaScript.
post comment

The Silverlight Train Wreck [30 Oct 2010|09:07am]
You'd think a multi-billion dollar company like Microsoft could hire people capable of explaining a reasonably coherent and evolving technology vision for the company. They can't because they don't have one. They make multi-billion dollar tactical decisions like the Kin instead of strategic ones. They send people like Steve Ballmer and Bob Muglia out to beat a single drum. It's not Bob's fault, nor is it really Mark Quirk or Dean Hachamovitch's fault that their boss is only promoting HTML 5 in IE 9 this year:

"The glue that allows this to come together is HTML5.... It allows a level of independence between the back-end and the front-end."

Yes, that's Steve Ballmer and he just kicked the strategic value of Silverlight and WPF as part of Microsoft's platform to the curb. It seems you don't need, and perhaps don't even want, .Net on the client at all. There's nothing ambiguous about what he is saying either. If you don't believe him you can listen to Bob Muglia, Microsoft's President, Server and Tools talking to Mary Jo Foley:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/microsoft-our-strategy-with-silverlight-has-shifted/7834

Personally, I think this is all delightful. If MS truly follows the standards this time then I much prefer Microsoft investing in making HTML5 work in the world's most popular browser. But, as someone who manages people and projects I think this is beyond pathetic. Microsoft is providing no cover whatsoever for the people working on WPF/Silverlight, and with the boss full-on over HTML5 they have no way to defend the value of their years of work. Silverlight evangelists like Mike Downey have been silent since PDC.

Of course Silverlight isn't dead - not even close. And, when its suits Microsoft's purposes, they can re-invest billions in it again. They can move hundreds of developers around from project to project. They have the money. What they don't have is a coherent strategy.

Maybe its time people like Scott Guthrie ignored all their little sycophants and went to work somewhere that values the longer term trajectory of their work and their staff's efforts. Somewhere outside Redmond.
post comment

Does Adobe have Anything to Say about the Web's Future? [26 Oct 2010|09:12pm]
I watched the replay of Kevin Lynch's keynote at Adobe Max. As usual he does a good job. Not much really new except contributing better text flow to WebKit. I hope that works well. The rest was mostly stuff we've heard about before but never seen.

I tried to watch some of the reruns of the second keynote. I knew it was going to be bad, but I wasn't prepared for how mind numbingly bad it would be. I couldn't watch it. Adobe, in your next round of cutbacks, please fire everyone involved. It was beyond pitiful.

Don't believe me? Here are some tweets:

DeviousMedia Dave Andrews
#AdobeMax - Great you're giving cool stuff away. #FAIL that people watching video have to sit through horrible HOSTS and no video chapters

CodeBum Jesse Freeman
Can we bring Martha back on stage? I fail to see the point of this keynote especially after they nailed it yesterday #AdobeMax #JumpTheShark

cwahlers Claus Wahlers
when is the keynote going to start? some weird reality show is on where people design call center websites with animated gifs (?) #adobemax

cwahlers Claus Wahlers
worst. keynote. ever. #adobemax

bitchwhocodes Stacey Mulcahy
People are clapping at odd shit

bitchwhocodes Stacey Mulcahy
Zzzzzz

bit101 Keith Peters
adobe people, i like you guys. i really do. but this keynote is kind of embarrassing.

bit101 Keith Peters
why are all the tweets on the live stream page overwhelmingly positive. not what i'm seeing in my feed.

and so on.

The evangelists are in charge of the Adobe nut house. Nothing good will come of this.
post comment

Rome, Does Adobe have Anything to Say about the Web's Future? [24 Oct 2010|10:44am]
The first announcement out of Adobe Max is Project Rome:

http://rome.adobe.com

If you've developed applications in Flash or Flex where your users create graphics, edit images, or create complex layouts, looking at Adobe's Rome may remind you of what it was like to create scroll bars in Flash before UI components arrived. You had to do it yourself. Companies like Sliderocket and Scrapblog have been building user design/layout interfaces that resemble some of the UI of Rome for years - without much help from Adobe.

Now Adobe has taken much of what they know best from building programs like inDesign and Illustrator and applied it to a new online service: Rome.

It reminds me of their online editor Buzzword. Nice work, but third party developers aren't going to benefit because the technologies behind Buzzword, photoshop.com, LCCS, and Rome aren't available to them.

At least Google open sourced the core technology behind Wave. What scaffolding has Adobe provided Flash and Flex developers beyond re-skinning the usual components lately?

So if you're a developer looking at Adobe Rome, just spit and turn the page. Or perhaps pause for a moment, and ask yourself why your platform provider is competing with you and if the playing field isn't tilting inexorably in their direction.
post comment

Again, Does Adobe have Anything to Say about the Web's Future? [24 Oct 2010|09:49am]
Way back in June 2006, Adobe released Flash Player 9. It had a new ActionScript virtual machine that dramatically out-performed every browser's JavaScript interpreter and provided superior and more consistent performance across browsers and operating systems.

It was a clear win for Adobe Flash and helped propel Flex forward as a viable option for Web developers.

Four years later, Google's Chrome, Firefox 4, and forth coming IE 9 all outperform Flash ActionScript 3 running in Flash Player 10.1. In some cases the difference is small, but Flash's scripting performance advantage is gone.

At Adobe's Max conference this week Adobe is likely to announce improvements in ActionScript performance. But the question is how much is enough to make ActionScript compelling again? If the next Flash player only promises to increases raw computational performance by 1.5 to 2.0 times, then its not enough.

Macromedia and Adobe used to argue that control of their plugin meant they could innovate out ahead of browser providers. They were cutting edge. Web browsers, not so much. There are still good reasons to use plugins like Flash but they are diminishing slowly. Scripting performance is something Adobe could, in theory, get out ahead of the browsers on, much like SIlverlight and Java do. They have married ActionScript to JavaScript standards and still have a relatively small core group of developers working on their JIT. They need to do more if they want to stay out in front of the browsers.
post comment

Does Adobe have Anything to Say about the Web's Future? [23 Oct 2010|09:20am]
John Mason thinks Adobe should fire their current CEO Shantanu Narayen:

http://www.codfusion.com/blog/post.cfm/adobe-should-fire-shantanu-narayen

He might be right, though I have no idea how companies decide those things. If it was up to me I'd fire Steve Jobs from Apple. But the stock price says I'm wrong. Dead wrong.

This weekend Adobe's big annual conference is getting underway and I'm glad I'm not there. I find it painful to read and listen to just about everyone in Adobe talk about Flash, HTML5, and the future of the Web. That's because I have an aversion to seeing people embarrass themselves. Some people love it. They get huge laughs when someone slips on a banana or says something dumb in front of tens of thousands of people. I don't get that.

The only executive at Adobe that doesn't make me cringe is Kevin Lynch. He has a low-key approach and is mercifully reluctant to mouth platitudes about customer needs and market segments. When he talks, he talks about what Adobe is actually doing. He seems to understand that Flash is a plugin and so relies on cooperation with other companies like Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, and Apple. That means you have to work with them and not against them. You have to go the extra mile to make it easy for them to help you make your plugin work well on their platforms.

John Mason is right about Adobe's response to Apple. Steve Jobs and friends have pulled the legs out from under every plugin maker (Microsoft, Adobe, and Oracle/Sun) as being able to provide a truly ubiquitous and cross-platform run time. Adobe's response has been offensive personal statements by evangelists, more thoughtful but equally useless criticisms of Apple, or platitudes from its CEO and founders. With the exception of Lynch, Adobe has utterly failed to get any message into the press that resonates with anyone.

So what to expect from Adobe Max 2010? My guess is more of the same. There will be some wiz/bang demos and new announcements. But over all, Adobe will look like a bunch of loosely coupled product silos trying to suck too much money out of its clients while they blithely ignore the elephant in the room - that a lot of what they are doing is based on trying to leverage profits out of a browser plugin.

It's time Adobe acted like they understand they're not in the same game as Microsoft, Oracle, and Apple. They don't have the leverage or revenue those companies have - they need to think about themselves differently.

I don't think they know how to do that. So I think that leaves Google as the only interesting and reasonably agile and open company writing new software that has a global impact.

And, what if things get a lot worse for Adobe? Who would want them? Cisco likes to buy profitable and well managed companies that can add to their bottom line. Google is investing in an open Web that includes Flash but doesn't promote Flash. Apple? Microsoft? Oracle? I don't see it.

Maybe John Mason is right. Adobe needs to find someone with a different and more appealing story to tell and the ability to tell it well.
post comment

What do Adobe and Microsoft Have to Talk about? [07 Oct 2010|08:35pm]
Lots of fun reading about rumors that Adobe and Microsoft are getting together to challenge Apple.
Well its fun to imagine the conversation:

Adobe: If you agree to ship Flash with WP7 and Windows, we'll agree not to complain if you bundle Silverlight with Windows and IE 9.
Microsoft: What if you stop selling Creative Suite for the Apple platform?
Adobe: We'd lose money.
Microsoft: What's it worth to you? We could license your live-cycle stuff as a smoke screen to ship you a mountain of cash. We could even make the money back by selling it with Biztalk or something.
Adobe: Our customers would hate us.
Microsoft: Mac users hate you already. Grow a pair. And why do you still care about Flash? You can't be making money on that crap?
Adobe: Yeah we do. A little. Maybe more than you're losing on Silverlight.
Microsoft: Not likely. We lose more on Silverlight than you can ever dream about. By the way how do you feel about Java now that Oracle owns it and is bailing on Flex?
Adobe: Sucks to be us.
post comment

Sequences in MySQL Please [26 Sep 2010|10:01pm]
Dear Oracle,
Please add sequences to MySQL.
Thanks.
post comment

Don't believe all a CEO says [26 Sep 2010|09:49am]
Tim Anderson, one of the best tech journalists out there, tweets:

Don't believe all a CEO says RT @ElReg: Google 'extended' Apple search deal: Schmidt: Our biggest competitor is...Bing

http://twitter.com/timanderson/status/25443919158

That the Apple search deal was extended is (I assume) a fact, so the warning not to believe Schmidt refers to Bing as Google's biggest competitor.

When you consider that Google's revenue comes from search there's no question that Bing is the only serious competition outside controlled markets like China. If Bing captures significant market share it will really hurt Google. Microsoft is willing to spend enormous amounts of cash to promote Bing. If you talk to anyone in Microsoft sales you know Google is still their number one target. So Google can't take Bing's current numbers for granted. They know they have to compete.

The more interesting part of the interview with Schmidt is when he is asked about Apple and Facebook as competitors. His emphasis is that the fear in the press about closed systems threatening Google has not actually happened yet and may never - especially after Apple was forced to change its rules around advertising. He returned over and over again to the idea that Google is interested in acquiring information about people if those people choose to give it to Google and gave an example where a third party participating in Facebook's ecosystem is working with Google.

You can hear the entire interview here:

http://online.wsj.com/video/the-big-interview-with-eric-schmidt/635487A7-CE86-462E-8783-F1AF61BC988A.html

Of course it's true that everyone lies. In the least evil and most common case we tell stories that explain our understandings rather than recount a more objective view of events. In the worst case we deliberately lie to mislead people.

As stories go, Schmidt's interview is a pretty good one. Tim may not agree with it, but I don't think it should be dismissed as being reflective of how Schmidt and others at Google see their competitive challenges.

After the Finance industry's recent disasters and duplicity, or even after Steve Job's ludicrous statements about Adobe, it's become too easy to dismiss everything CEOs say as lies. That's a problem. More often than not people say things they believe, or want to believe. We should listen carefully instead of simply dismissing them outright. Journalists need to hear and reflect on the entire interview before dismissing the story in it.
post comment

If you lead - don't expect millions to follow [22 Sep 2010|07:17am]
I'm always amazed when I read things like this:

"We want the nine million Java developers in the world to never have to chose a different environment to build a great-looking UI ever again"

That's Thomas Kurian at Oracle talking about JavaFX. ( JavaFX script is going away... )

It's entirely reminiscent of Microsoft's claims that six million .Net developers will find it easy to adopt Silverlight.

There is a nascent assumption behind those sorts of statements that developers are so committed to your platform that they will follow you anywhere.

But it hasn't worked out that way for Microsoft's Silverlight and it seems even less likely to work out that way for Oracle's JavaFX without the scripting language. Instead, platform providers will increasingly be forced to support the major iterations of AJAX - especially after IE 9 ships. And that's where the majority of .Net and Java developers will likely end up. Microsoft and Oracle will be smart to fully support AJAX/HTML5 through all their tools. If they don't others will.

Or, to put it differently, tag-based UIs and JavaScript have won. It's time for the big platform providers to get over it. But they won't...

That said, Oracle's moves with JavaFX make a lot of sense - especially cross-compiling to JavaScript and abandoning the JavaFX scripting lanaguage. At least they realized developers weren't going to follow them there.
post comment

Bad Evangelists [13 Sep 2010|07:41am]
I'll never really understand why Microsoft hired Scott Barnes as a Silverlight evangelist. I thought his writing was awful:

http://notboss.livejournal.com/5561.html

Maybe they were just looking for someone to poke Adobe. He certainly did that. He trolled Adobe developer-focused mailing lists and generally made the company he represented look like a poorly organized religious nut house. I'm sure he doesn't know how much damage he did to Silverlight in the process.

Now, after leaving Microsoft, Scott is complaining that WPF is dead and Silverlight is in danger because of renewed interest in HTML5 inside Microsoft. But Scott doesn't appear to understand the economics of the company he used to work for. For example IE 6 was on life support for many years. There was no real new investment in it while Microsoft focused on Avalon (XAML etc). People like Scoble repeated excuses that it was too hard to change IE 6 to conform to standards because it was so deeply integrated into the OS and Office.

Everyone thought IE was dead.

But all that started to change when the US Government recommended not using IE for security reasons. In 2005 Microsoft finally announced there would be an IE7. Now, five years later, they are finally adopting HTML5 in IE9 that will, for the first time in years, include a competitive JavaScript engine. In other words, Microsoft didn't invest in IE for years, but when it needed to was able to slowly ramp the team up again and reinvest. It can do that because it has billions from its monopolies. Few other companies have resources to resuscitate "dead" products like IE.

Lost in all this is the work at ECMA to add syntactic sugar to JavaScript. But that's not lost on the compiler people at Microsoft. When type annotations appear in JavaScript compilers will be able to take advantage of it. That should change everything regarding performance and tooling. Scott doesn't seem to understand that either. To him Silverlight is the best thing out there for performance and tools. And, today he might be right. What he's missing is that HTML5 has legs and Microsoft doesn't want to be left behind. So yes. They will shift their investments and some of their best developers to making HTML5 part of the Microsoft story. But the shift won't be as dramatic as the shift away from IE6 towards Longhorn and Avalon. (Scott Guthrie says there are 200 people working on WPF and Silverlight.)

So, no. Silverlight isn't dead or even on life support. It just has serious competition for resources inside Microsoft. The larger problem for Microsoft is that they don't know how to tell a story that isn't winner take all. You can see one of their Silverlight folks trying and failing here:

http://team.silverlight.net/announcement/the-future-of-silverlight/

The article starts off well, but fails because it's real advise is use Silverlight. Also, notice the combative swipe at Flash in the side bar. You have to hack the bubblemark UI to come up with a result like that. People outside Microsoft understand the religious winner-take-all attitude and find it revolting.

For all that, Scott has finally done something interesting. He's given voice to the people working on Silverlight who think they should dominate rather than being part of a larger story. It's entertaining if you can stand the way he writes:

http://www.riagenic.com/archives/363

Update. This sad story is also worth reading:

http://www.riagenic.com/archives/358

The hundreds of thousands for each third party demo was only the beginning. He doesn't talk about subsidizing the Olympics and other "Silverlight wins." Too bad.

Update: http://www.talkingshopdownunder.com/2010/09/episode-29-scott-barnes-says-wpf-is.html

It turns out Silverlight doesn't have millions of .Net developers behind it. Maybe 100,000 to 200,000 developers have been active on the forums... For any other company that would be success this far in. Not for MS after burning through so much money.

Funny to hear Scott admit that player adoption isn't going very well either.

Update 2010, 10, 31. Priceless tweets from Scott Barnes - yes, Microsoft is a really nasty company:

@jonathanbaltz the shit we used to pull on Adobe/Apple at Microsoft wasn't ethical. Same back.. ethics at that level is over-sold imho

@JustinAngel devs like you often worry me.. its like you're a heartbeat away from having your balls tattooed with a brand.. ease up a bit :)

@woodjoe diff is they are 5 years behind schedule and have iPhone / Android saying "fuck you, get back to the end of the line" :)

@tobin we used to make jokes "once we beat the shit out of Adobe and win 5% of the market.. then we fight HTML for the last 95%" hehe

Now #wp7 will fail with consumers, hate that remark all you like but it predict it. When that happens, Silverlight is going to get messy.

@jakkaj IE9 + HTML5 + Windows 8 is a reactive result of Silverlights failings. It had 3 years to get off the ground.

@jakkaj the reason why Silverlight is being shunted to the back now is because it didn't hit its Reach.. penalty for failure is "NEXT!.."

@lazycoder Scott Gu's org has re-orged to focus on functional engineering vs product engineering now..so its changed the DNA of product dev

@jakkaj you're putting spin on new data. When we set out on this Silverlight journey it was to hijack Flash / HTML Ubiquity

@tobin hey i was heavily handcuffed and told to work on Adobe Compete / Feature strategies at the time...but yeah, my fail :)

@jakkaj @zBrianW ubiquity is the only metric that governed Silverlight .. reach is Silverlight on x-plat / x-dev / x-browser .own it or die

4 years of holding the web scene hostage. Kicked off a DOJ inquiry cause of their bad behavior and constant browser fuckups since.. wtf?

I guess the @teamsilverlight can't say shit, given they kind of have to throw BobMu under a bus... not a career making move

@dalmaer your delusional if you think html5 can't be hijacked ... Browsers shift the boundaries but welcome to browserwars v3

Silverlight is being slaughtered pr wise post #pdc2010 and silverlight marketing team are out of office .. *rolls eyes* :)
post comment

navigation
[ viewing | most recent entries ]
[ go | earlier ]