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Is Microsoft's Sparkle the New Flash?

Article Description

Anyone who spends any time on the Web is familiar with Flash presentations. They're practically inescapable, they're usually fast, and they're easy to create. And now, they're in danger of being replaced—that is, if you’re buying what Microsoft has to sell you. Matthew David previews Microsoft's answer to the ubiquitous Flash: a new product whose beta name is "Sparkle."

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Is Macromedia Worried?

Macromedia should be deeply concerned that Microsoft is moving into its territory. Sparkle and the potential for the Windows Presentation Foundation are an immediate threat to Flash. That said, however, Microsoft has to convince us that we need to move from Windows XP to Windows Vista. This will take time—possibly as long as five years. In the meantime, Macromedia has just released Flash 8, and can anticipate more than 250 million unique downloads between now and when Windows Vista begins to sell.

In addition, Macromedia's Flash is universally available on all versions of Windows, Mac, Linux, handheld devices, and even cell phones. With Flash, you may not have some of the tight integration tools that Sparkle boasts, but you have an installed base. At the end of the day, what matters is what customers have installed and not what they should have installed. And what they have is Flash.