Microsoft Readies “Flash Attack” for the New Year

By on 12/04/2006 8:46 AM @

We’ve been talking about Flash, the application found in nearly all browsers to view video and other rich media.  There’s no doubt that without Flash, YouTube and virtually all consumer-generated video sites or professional publishers would not be streaming millions of clips every day.

Microsoft is about to introduce Microsoft Expression Blend, which some industry watchers expect will be a challenge to Adobe’s Flash.  It’s hard to say how quickly the Microsoft product will impact this streaming world. Here Dan Rayburn, the longtime head of Streaming, shares his thoughts.  Dan expects this Microsoft initiative to have a big impact on the industry in 2007.  Here’s what he tells me:

"As the debate over the Flash and Windows Media formats continues

to rage on in the industry, so does the battle between Adobe and Microsoft over which platform will reign supreme. Adobe is hard at work on Flash 9 and the Apollo project while Microsoft, not to be outdone, has announced it is working on a competing product, now called Microsoft Expression Interactive Designer, the release of which would coincide with that of their next-generation Windows operating system, Windows Vista . Although the target audiences of Expression Interactive Designer and Flash overlap somewhat, Microsoft is targeting its product towards creating user interfaces for Windows Presentation Foundation programs, while Flash focuses on user interfaces that run on many platforms, primarily over the web. It’s exciting to see that Microsoft is once again going to get back into this game and push its video format."


Here’s my post-conference interview with Dan Rayburn at Streaming Media West in San Jose last month.  Dan marvels about how things have changed over the years and streaming video has become a commodity.  Dan is working hard to pull together Streaming Media East in New York in May.  Don’t miss it!

Microsoft sends mixed messages — ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley reports on Microsoft’s web design tool strategy.

Andy Plesser

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