This is a “6 degrees” kind of thing, but it’s actually 4. I don’t know if anyone thinks this way of relating things is ok, but here’s what I think.
With Microsoft releasing Silverlight preview, and it being dubbed the “Flash Killer”, there are a lot of questions arising about wether Microsoft can pull this one off or not. It obviously depends on the client adoption for the technology. Flash is currently installed in [put your favorite estimate here, it is still a lot] PCs. Silverlight has to beat that. But there are so many sites working with Flash already, and a huge developer base too.
I think Microsoft has a good chance to take Flash’s place, first because they have a history fo building a developer base. Some might disagree but they have done it before with .Net.
Another reason is that Microsoft is a lot more mature as a software development company than Adobe is. In my personal opinion their development tools are far more efficient.
But now there’s another twist to take in consideration, and that’s why I think this is sort of a “4 degrees to the demise of Flash” thing (ok, might be a little exagerated but still). YouTube is encoding it’s videos for the AppleTV in H.264 instead of FLV. Which means a change like that could be done in favor of Silverlight too, or a Silverlight version of YouTube. It doesn’t seem so hard to me that they can switch to Silverlight completely with some *minor* (compared to what I thought before) changes. Maybe YouTube won’t (I don’t really think Google would support Microsoft like that) but other non Google sites could.
Now you also have to take in consideration the fact that Flash comes with XP or SP2 and that Microsoft can install Silverlight in millions if PCs with just a simple update via Windows Update. Shazam!
Like I said, Microsoft has a very good chance. I want to hear counterpoints!