Microsoft Says Silverlight 2 Now On 100 Million PCs, Gives Details On Silverlight 3

Last night, Scott Guthrie at Microsoft posted more details on his blog about the adoption of Silverlight 2 and gave some details on new features in Silverlight 3, slated to be released next year. While I had previously heard Microsoft say 1 in 4 machines on the Internet has some form of the Silverlight player installed, this is the first time I have seen the 100 million number for consumer machines mentioned. And since that number does not include installs in the enterprise, the total number of machines that have the Silverlight player are even higher.

While 100 million sounds like a big number, many will want to compare that to the number of Flash installs that Adobe has and say that it's still small. But right now, it's still too early to compare the two. Silverlight is still new in the market and we need to wait and see what kind of growth and penetration rate Silverlight gets over the next 12-18 months before you can really compare Silverlight to Flash. As I have said in the past, Microsoft is in this platform fight for the long term and can spend the time growing their share of the market strategically and steadily. They don't need to surge ahead overnight and they have the ability to compete with Flash over time. Microsoft knows this is a race that will be won year's from now and they have time on their side.

In addition to Scott's post listing many of the new features in Silverlight 2,he also briefly talks about some of the new features coming next year in Silverlight 3 including support for H.264, 3D and GPU hardware acceleration, richer data-binding and support for additional controls.

When Microsoft releases Silverlight 3 next year, adds support for H.264 and we see video services like those from Netflix gain traction, the online video format market is really going to heat up. I'm not making any bets on who's going to eventually win, but I will say that I don't think there is ever going to be a single format the dominates the market. I think we will also have more than one major player in the format space and considering how many different kinds of video solutions are needed in the market, there is room for two major players.