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Post-MIX Thoughts

I can sum up the results of the MIX07 Web development conference in two words: Game On.

Microsoft protests consistently that Silverlight is not just a Flash competitor. After all, the company wired Silverlight to leapfrog the mass-market concept of a multimedia runtime engine to deliver a rich Internet application platform in progress. And while today's working version of Silverlight won't pay off on these promises, the upcoming Silverlight 1.1, currently in alpha, almost certainly will.

Yet, for all the synergies being baked into Silverlight by way of XAML, Expression Studio and Visual Studio, a simple fact remains: Microsoft has committed itself to the Web development space in the biggest possible way. Witness the way Redmond pushed the ASP.NET AJAX toolkit (formerly code-named "Atlas") out the door ahead of the Orcas wave, or the way XAML has become a common theme across Silverlight, Visual Studio, Expression Blend and Windows Presentation Foundation.

The pieces and tooling are snapping into place. Now the question becomes: Can Microsoft lure a critical mass of Web content developers to its freshly minted platforms?

I'm betting it can. Wooing developers is a game Microsoft knows well. Many of the company's greatest victories -- including that over Netscape -- were the result of doing more for the customers at the root of Microsoft's success: developers.

What do you think? Can Microsoft wrest the attention of developers and designers away from Adobe? And will Adobe have to change its game plan if it hopes to keep Microsoft at bay? E-mail me at [email protected].

Posted by Michael Desmond on 05/09/2007

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