Silverlight excludes 22 million

Posted on Wednesday 13 August 2008

I use the web to keep up on events as I work and frequently I look at video clips of news worthy events. With the Olympics in the daily news I wouldn’t mind seeing a clip of Phelps win another gold or perhaps the Chinese or South Koreans winning metals in various events.

I moved over to the NBC web site and was quite sure I would get to see the clips as until recently NBC used the Flash Video Server and a Video player contructed with Flash/Actionscript. The broadcast network has done a great job at delivering episodes of popular shows in a timely and efficient manner.

I was surprised by the box below, greeting me with a big message that NBC has switched to Microsofts “Silverlight” application. Microsoft and media delivery aren’t two words I would put together with any confidence from the history of the company so I was a little apprehensive.

NBC's Silverlight welcome.

So fine… why let years of poor delivery in Windoze Media Player keep me away from the olympics, I just clicked away and was immediately downloading and .exe file. Terrific, the NBC site doesn’t understand I am on a mac. I’ll just go to the Microsoft site and look for the mac version of the player, after several minutes of fishing around I finally found the interface below in the developer section of the site.

Silverlight download button

Clicking the download Silverlight 2 Beta 2 yielded again the dreaded “.exe” file below. Now come on guys, you sell a mac version of Office to us, why can’t you get your act together and at least put a .dmg file that we can open and install to get the NBC video. Did NBC do any research before embarking on this folly? Does anyone want to piss of 22 Million Mac OSX installed users? What was wrong with delivering in Flash? Afterall, Microsoft itself has licensed FlashLite for their mobile devices until their software is ready for prime time, that should tell you something.

A more basic question is with the IA people responsible for both NBC’s site and Microsoft’s Silverlight section. Aren’t links that don’t work the same as a dead link? If you are designing a site to deliver a piece of software, shouldn’t the file actually be there in a format for your target users?

Something so glaring is just mind boggling in terms of a catastrophic failure…

So, I guess I will just find my Olympic clips on Youtube.

Light up the web, yeah sure...

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