Why Major League Baseball Benched Silverlight For Flash

At MAX 2008 in San Francisco, Kevin Lynch announced that Major League Baseball was going to be using Flash for broadcast video. What he did not say at the time is that MLB had been using Silverlight, which they were abandoning for Flash. Greg Sandoval has posted a story on CNET explaining what he’s learned about why Silverlight is out, and Flash is in.

10 responses to “Why Major League Baseball Benched Silverlight For Flash”

  1. Christopher Vigliotti Avatar
    Christopher Vigliotti

    Good news! Hopefully Netflix will wake up next.

  2. Russ Avatar

    "First, baseball wanted Microsoft to make it possible for users to download Silverlight without having to possess administrative rights."
    but this isn’t possible with Flash Player either is it? If it is, please tell me how!

  3. tim Avatar

    Russ: it isn’t. That’s part of the point – people *already* have Flash player installed thought. This is a big part of their business model, so it makes sense to pick Flash *mostly* because of the penetration (although other factors are mentioned in the article). Microsoft may have been pretending it doesn’t matter, but it does for any real business, specially since SL is being so slow at catching up (comparison: in the past 30 days, the last version of Flash increased its penetration by an additional 20%, from 42% to 62%; the last version of SL did so by 10%, from 13% to 23%).
    MS is doing the right thing in sponsoring stuff like the Olympics, NBA, and Obama’s inauguration. That’ll help SL catch on. But they’re creating an imaginary market in doing so. MLB saw the writing on the wall, decided they wanted to serve the real clients instead of a partner with cash, and switched. Simple as that.

  4. Scott Barnes Avatar
    Scott Barnes

    I’ve blogged about how silly this article is here:
    I’m sure Ben carefully selected the headline here, but in reality they benched both Silverlight and Flash for NexDef – a Java Client to massage streaming into Flash.

    Scott BArnes
    Rich Platforms Product Manager

  5. Scott Barnes Avatar
    Scott Barnes

    Not true. I can’t comment on the specifics here, but plug-in choice had little to do with the direction taken. I will say it’s somewhat interesting to see at Adobe’s MAX 2008 this year all of the keynote material were the same ones found at Microsoft’s MIX2007. One would even say a big coincidence huh? 🙂

    Scott Barnes
    Rich Platforms Product Manager

  6. Rick Avatar

    This article is rather misinformed
    Details from here:
    But basically they gave up SilverLight to go with Flash _AND_ whatever this Swarmcast NexDef plug-in to achive the same thing. Not to mention that this plugin is just horrible and numerous people having problems viewing it, just check the MLB forums.
    I’m a Flex/Coldfusion guy myself, so I would like to know why Flash alone could not satisfy MLB and why I need this horrible plugin (which has less penetration than SL) to view my flash.
    Any details on that?

  7. rose Avatar

    It’s right!

  8. thomas Avatar

    Baseball season openers hit with Web video problems too. The article is at

  9. Bob Mitchell Avatar
    Bob Mitchell

    Surely Scott, regardless of the suitability of Flash, NexDef or whatever, the only sure fact here is that Silverlight was not up the job and got ditched by a client for an alternative technology.
    Does this not raise doubt over the suitability of Silverlight’s suitability as a flash alternative?

  10. Clint Avatar

    What is this NexDef Ben? I don’t have time to research it but sounds like a company who needed a player and found a back door to Flash players. But to use the back door you have to install yet another plugin, thiers. I don’t know, confused, explain please.

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