Microsoft touted a partnership with Major League Baseball Advanced Media as a major win for its upstart Silverlight Web video platform in spring 2007, but today the company has lost the customer to the dominant online video platform: Adobe Flash.
Adobe and MLB.com announced today “a two-year agreement in which MLB.com has selected the Adobe Flash Platform to deliver all of its live and on-demand video offerings beginning in 2009. In addition, MLB.com will provide a downloadable rich Internet application (RIA) built using Adobe AIR, so baseball fans can access additional features outside the Web browser.”
In April 2007, Microsoft and MLB announced that “MLB Advanced Media is working with Microsoft Silverlight to develop the next generation of live and on-demand video on MLB.com and the club sites.” The Silverlight-MLB announcement is available in this Word doc.
I asked Microsoft PR for the status of the MLB arrangement. “We’ve appreciated the partnership of the MLB.com and continue to be very pleased with the success of Silverlight,” a spokeswoman said via e-mail.
This is a substantial online video customer. According to Adobe’s announcement:
— MLB.com streams more than 2,500 spring training, regular and postseason games, every one.
— Its out-of-market subscription product “has seen more than 1.5 million total subscribers since its debut on Opening Day 2003.”
— “Fans have accessed more than 1.8 billion streams of live and on-demand multimedia offerings on MLB.com, representing nearly 200 million hours of participation.”
Bob Bowman, CEO, MLB.com, who was quoted in Microsoft’s announcement a year and a half ago, said this about the Adobe deal:
“We are excited about this partnership as Adobe provides the scalability, flexibility and reliability that fans expect from MLB.com in delivering them the best live streaming product possible.”
I called MLB.com seeking more details on why it switched, but was not able to reach anyone Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie has an extensive post on his blog outlining big Silverlight customers including: the NBC Olympics and CBS College Sports.
He also previewed what’s coming in Silverlight 3, due next year.
“Silverlight 3 will include major media enhancements (including H.264 video support), major graphics improvements (including 3D support and GPU hardware acceleration), as well as major application development improvements (including richer data-binding support and additional controls).”