So, if I want to watch the Olympics online, I need to install Microsoft Silverlight. And if I’m interested in good-looking new high-end compact cameras, I’m super-interested in the new Nikon P6000; which writes a RAW format that can only be read by Microsoft WIC, available only on Windows.

Open, non-proprietary equivalents to all of these, which do not constrain your customers’ choice of platform, are widely available.

Nikon is a competent camera company. The IOC is a competent sports impresario. The Chinese government is a competent authoritarian dictatorship. Pity they’re all so fucking stupid about technology.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Jeff Schiller (Aug 10 2008, at 22:26)

I'm interested in what you consider the

"open, non-proprietary" equivalent of Silverlight is.

Are you referring to the 'open web stack" (HTML + JS + CSS + SVG + SMIL + ???). Sadly, there aren't that many browsers that are shipping right now with support of the <video> element. Maybe a browser with the VLC plugin?


From: Dave Pawson (Aug 11 2008, at 00:01)

Commercial organisations I can (nearly) understand. I came across this kind of lock-in with a UK standards organisation which had me close to despair. MS lock-in for training on developing and reviewing international standards?


From: Christian Mogensen (Aug 11 2008, at 03:03)

Mozilla is supporting Ogg Theora video in HTML:

There are open video standards (Flash video uses H264/MPEG4-AVC) but the codecs are patent-encumbered.


From: Scot (Aug 11 2008, at 05:25)

I don't believe I'm about to defend the government of China, but - what does the Chinese government have to do with the use of Silverlight by your local olympics provider? The BBC are using Flash, so I doubt Silverlight is a being forced by either the PRC or the IOC.


From: Hub (Aug 11 2008, at 06:31)

I think there is a bit of too much premature noise made on NRW. Not to be the devil's advocate, I already hate the camera manufacturer with their policy on RAW files, and NRW is unlikely to be in the right direction.

But for all we now, it is hard to say the NRW is yet another file. It could just be a NEF file with a different extension, but given how the various software work, it just isn't recognized, making Nikon the exclusive supplier for it.

Let's wait when the first sample of NRW pop out on the Internet. If it is really different, or worse, encrypted, like some phone/music player vendor that people cherish do, then, we can start the real rant.


From: Rob Russell (Aug 11 2008, at 08:07)

The Olympics one doesn't surprise me in the least. It fits right in with the way that organization "manages their brand."

The Nikon example concerns me more - even though I'm a Canon user. Cameras are tools that produce data. Very specialized tools with a lot of emotional attachment, but still tools. Tying that output to one chunk of software sucks but at least the status quo seems to be that they don't mind people reversing their formats. Making a deal with MS sounds like a step in the wrong direction to me, and it's definitely time to complain before it hits widespread use.


From: Paul W. Homer (Aug 11 2008, at 11:01)

That's the problem with a decentralized immature industry, all of the players will bend towards the solutions that best lock in their own clients. Fair play is not natural to competition, it has to be enforced in some way ...



From: Mark (Aug 11 2008, at 12:04)

Gotta agree about the Silverlight lock-in being a product of NBC, not the Olympic committee. NBC is already allied with MS (hence "MSNBC", no?) so it comes as no surprise that MS would use this opportunity of exclusivity to push their latest proprietary format. When have they ever done otherwise?

In other news, Adobe is bundling AIR with Reader, Apple is bundling Quicktime and ASU with Safari and iTunes, and "abuse of power comes as no surprise" (Jenny Holzer). And the Free Market Fairy will not save you, but The Pirate Bay might.


From: Thijs van der Vossen (Aug 11 2008, at 14:14)

I'm not watching the Olympics and I won't be buying the P6000. I would, otherwise.


From: (Aug 13 2008, at 21:12)

I'll repeat what someone else said here...what is the alternative to Silverlight? Flash? Flash is just as much of a closed platform. Flash couldn't handle that much streaming live/on demand video either...not with the quality of video being shown.


author · Dad
colophon · rights
picture of the day
August 10, 2008
· Business (126 fragments)
· · Microsoft (19 more)

By .

The opinions expressed here
are my own, and no other party
necessarily agrees with them.

A full disclosure of my
professional interests is
on the author page.

I’m on Mastodon!