Baseball’s Spring Training starts tomorrow, and over the weekend we renewed our subscription to MLB.TV, Major League Baseball’s streaming video service. To our surprise, MLB Advanced Media — the league’s interactive arm — re-tooled the Web player during the offseason. And for the first time, it doesn’t suck on a Mac.
While good news for Apple (AAPL) customers, who are getting a better experience, the winner here is Microsoft. Why’s that? MLB.TV’s new player uses Microsoft’s Silverlight plug-in, its newish rival to Adobe’s (ADBE) Flash.
During Web 1.0, Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Media and RealNetworks’ (REAL) RealVideo owned the Web video market, but offered lousy streaming experiences. As sites like YouTube took off, Flash Video dominated the new Web video boom — mostly because it comes pre-installed on almost every computer, but also because it works well on both Macs and PCs.
Microsoft seems to have done a nice job with Silverlight’s technology — version 1.0 appears to work just fine on our Macs, and presumably works well on PCs. But if Microsoft ever expects the software to take off, it has to become as ubiquitous as Flash. This won’t happen overnight, but if the company can score big deals like MLB.TV, it might attract a big enough user base to make Silverlight a viable Web video tool.
See Also: Two Must-Dos For Adobe’s New CEO
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.