Mozilla: Silverlight is Microsoft’s new monopoly
Mozilla executives claim Microsoft’s new Silverlight platform is an attempt to regain monopolistic control of the web.
Having seen Firefox erode Internet Explorer’s browser stranglehold, Mozilla says that Microsoft is once again trying to enforce its own proprietary standards with Silverlight, the company’s new browser plug-in to rival Adobe Flash.
“Silverlight could lead to loss of developer choice that’s akin to a monopoly in other areas,” says Mike Shaver, director of ecosystem development at the Mozilla Corporation. “It’s certainly a lot easier to make money, the more control you have. It might be good for one company, it’s not good for the web.”
Shaver claims that proprietary development platforms such as Silverlight and Adobe’s Apollo will splinter the developer community, unlike open web standards. “The right way to address [performance] issues with web applications is not to abandon the web, but improve and develop it,” he says. “To see more apps move into a closed environment would be a shame.”
Shaver says the biggest problem for Silverlight and Apollo developers is the lack of flexibility. “If you don’t like the way Silverlight works, you have to convince Microsoft that your case matters,” he says. “It’s fine for them [Microsoft] to have different priorities, but when you’re trapped on one technology platform you don’t have that choice.”
Yet, despite their ideological differences, Mozilla will continue to co-operate with its commercial rivals. “We don’t align with a corporation, we align with an activity. We work with Microsoft to make Firefox work better with Vista, for example. It doesn’t mean we endorse what they’re doing with Silverlight,” says Shaver.