May 14


Dealing another significant blow to the Microsoft Silverlight web development platform, the New York Times is abandoning Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF).  Rob Larson from the New York Times writes:

Next week we’ll be introducing Times Reader 2.0. This version is powered by Adobe AIR and will run equally well on Windows, Mac and Linux computers.  With this latest release, Times Reader resembles the printed paper even more closely, and it updates every five minutes with the latest news from the Web.

The timing is awkward to say the least, with Microsoft actively promoting its New York Times Silverlight Kit.  This toolkit enables developers to use the Times’ APIs with little or no coding, instead using mostly XAML.

The Times is dropping Silverlight for many of the same reasons that Major League Baseball benched Silverlight in April: compatibility and glitches.  Though Microsoft still enjoys a near-monopoly on the PC desktop, it doesn’t enjoy the same ubiquity in the browser.  Hence, Apple users complained about missing features that were available to Windows users and compatibility problems with Safari 4.  Developers also complained that Silverlight had too many limitations compared to WPF and often ended up having to maintain two separate code bases. 

Silverlight also produces blurry text for small print, a major issue for a newspaper.  Though the problem has been known since 2006, Microsoft has done little to fix it:



It is clear that our text rendering is not clear enough in many scenarios.  Unfortunately, the other design considerations make solving this problem very difficult.  We are investigating our options, but we have not found any good solution yet.

The lesson here for Microsoft is that it can no longer rely on its monopoly for customers to forgive its cross-platform limitations and buggy software.  With strong competition from Adobe AIR, Google Gears, and other open source solutions, Microsoft must learn to play nice in a multi-platform world that demands better quality and faster resolution of known problems.

(Original Story)

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Article published on May 14, 2009




10 Responses to “Silverlight Losing Another Major Customer”

  1. Chila Says:

    Microsoft–;

  2. Chila Says:

    (correction)
    Microsoft (minus)(minus);

  3. PRSoluções » Blog Arquivo » Microsoft e seu silverlight sem sucesso. Says:

    [...] http://www.devtopics.com/silverlight-losing-another-major-customer/ [...]

  4. Ryan Rife Says:

    “Microsoft is that it can no longer rely on its monopoly for customers” that comment and the whole last paragraph was dumb and added little to no value to the article. If you have a monopoly and are effectively leveraging it, then there is no reason to continue to innovate & evolve your products and compete with potential customers. This is not something Microsoft is doing and clearly Microsoft has not taken advantage of their monopoly nor are they leveraging it against their customers to force them to use their products. In the service industry, a monopoly may work….in the IT world there is no such thing.

  5. Jose Says:

    “In the service industry, a monopoly may work….in the IT world there is no such thing.”

    Clearly the US Department of Justice and the European Union felt differently.

  6. Chad Campbell Says:

    Please correct me if I am wrong, however, I do not see anything that says the NYT is “dropping” Silverlight. Instead, I this very well may be Adobe writing some software for the NYT to showcase their technology. This type of thing happens all of the time with technology platforms.

    In regards to the MLB deal, I personally believe that was MLB looking for to place the blame somewhere. The fact of the matter is, one of their “reasons” was users had difficulties logging in. As the author of Silverlight 2 in Action, I can say with confidence that Silverlight has little to do with authentication/authorization, it’s a client side technology. In addition, it should be noted that many of the same problems arose when the MLB switched back to Flash.

    One of the other problems that the MLB stated was poor video quality. That is BS. If that was true, why did NBC just when an Emmy for the 2008 Olympics website (which used Silverlight for online video)?

    Once again. I believe this is just a “showcase” type project. In addition, I feel that the MLB is looking for someone to blame. Ultimately the users will decide which apps they want to use. Personally, I will develop and deliver my apps with Silverlight.

  7. turtlewax Says:

    Is the silverlight install-base so small that a single defection is newsworthy? Websites switch stacks all the time, trading one bag of problems for another, then often going back again. Also, its not uncommon for websites to use multiple technologies, leveraging the strengths of each.

    As for adobe, I’d like them better if they’d stop “improving” their software. it generally seems like flash and acrobat degrade with each new release (especially acrobat).

  8. TitusM Says:

    The developers that NYT used indeed did a very nice job. It indeed gives the closest experience to browsing a newspaper that there is.

    However, this is not going to save the NYT. And the reason is that if you go to Google News and search on the term “Bilderberg” in order to bring up news items on the globalist Bilderberg Group’s meeting of 2009 being held in Vouliagmeni, Greece, none of the links are from the NYT.

    In other words, the NYT has no credibility as a news organization, but instead self-censors itself on behalf of the Bilderberg agenda.

    The fact that the NYT, and other large corporate media organs, are stooges for these self-anointed globalist is the reason the news reading public doesn’t give a shit about them anymore.

    The NYT only reports the news that the Bilderberg globalist approve to be filtered down to the masses.

    http://news.google.com/news?pz=1&ned=us&hl=en&q=bilderberg

  9. Developer.Baare.com » Blog Archive » Silverlight Losing Another Major Customer Says:

    [...] Volledig  artikel : http://www.devtopics.com/silverlight-losing-another-major-customer/ [...]

  10. Jeremy Likness Says:

    At least investigate the facts before reporting dire doomsday scenarios.

    The “Though the problem has been known since 2006, Microsoft has done little to fix it” is completely off. In fact, the author was kind enough to link to the forum this was ripped from, but managed to quote something from 2008. We’re almost in 2010.

    It turns out Microsoft rewrote the entire text rendering stack to accomodate this issue and it should be addressed in the next release of both WPF and Silverlight.

    The author also forgot to mention the wins of Sunday Night Football and the upcoming Olympics.

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