Microsoft to use Olympics to help Vista, Silverlight Adoption

Greetings Readers!

For those of your who are looking forward to watching the 2008 Olympics but would like to watch the events online at a time that is convenient for you, you might be in luck!  If you are running Vista and have Silverlight, thanks to a partnership with NBC and Wavexpress, you will be able to download olympic events off the internet onto your computer.  If you are feeling left out for not having Vista, don’t be too disappointed as only some Vista users can use the service.

Powered by Wavexpress’ TVTonic Internet video service and client, NBC Olympics on the Go will only work for people that have a Media Center capable Vista PC.  This means you must either be running Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate if you want to use this service.  If you haven’t been excluded from this service yet, there is more that you should know.  The video you download cannot be kept indefinitely and is only certain to last through the games.  Also, you wont be able to watch the video from an event until 12 hours after it takes place.  Finally, if you aren’t sad about this news yet, the service doesn’t allow for portable players.  They are looking into other distribution outlets for putting the Olympics on portable devices, but as of right now, there will be no easy way to put the Olympics on portable devices.

With the sad facts out of the way, its time to look at the impact this will have on the market penetration of Vista and Silverlight.  With the global spectacle that the Olympics is, gathering the attention of billions of people, it is no surprise that Silverlight is expecting to see a huge wave of adoption since Bill Gates announced the offical Olympic site will require Microsoft’s flash competitor, Silverlight.  With the website likely to receive billions of hits, it is understandable that the games will create many millions of new Silverlight users.  While a vast majority of people don’t currently have Silverlight, I believe that will change because of the Olympic games website.  The ease of of install with Silverlight will greatly work in the technology’s favor.  It will take an event like this to make Microsoft’s Silverlight a true competitor with Adobe’s Flash.  I hope that adoption numbers will be announced after the games have concluded as I expect it to create hundreds of millions of new Silverlight users.

Vista on the other hand will likely see a small boost from people who want to download the Olympic events, but not near the adoption rate that Silverlight will see.  Considering the current state of the economy, I don’t expect people to rush out and purchase new computers or a new operating system just because they wish to watch more Olympic games coverage.  While I’m sure that some people will see this as the prodding they need to move to Vista, this won’t cause a huge exodus from XP to Vista.  It is wishful thinking on Microsoft’s part and its at least a move in the direction of the mass market adoption of Vista, but this isn’t going to be the thing that will cause people to move to Vista.  Microsoft needs to work on the public perception of Vista before it can ever hope to achieve true success with the operating system.

This is a huge play for Microsoft in its competition with Adobe’s Flash, but not what Microsoft needs to help increase Vista adoption.