MySpace and Facebook have both announced new partnerships for rich media content within their networks. MySpace is teaming up with Microsoft to bring Silverlight functionality to its developer platform, while Facebook is introducing expanded Flash support for its developers. The announcements were, coincidentally enough, revealed on the same day.
MySpace and Silverlight
In unveiling its new deal, MySpace showed off a handful of new Silverlight-powered applications already available, including an animated friend list utility that can be added onto any profile.
“Silverlight empowers MySpace developers with more freedom and flexibility to design OpenSocial applications that provide streaming video, graphics and audio to a variety of platforms and devices,” the announcement says.
“Silverlight and the MySpace Open Platform will enable developers to rapidly create and deliver sophisticated MySpace applications with a custom look and feel through the flexible skinning of controls and data.”
Facebook and Flash
Facebook, on the other hand, is working with Adobe to broaden its support for Flash-based applications. While Flash was already available for Facebook developers, the site is now adding “official support” for the full ActionScript 3.0 Client Library for Facebook Platform.
“With this client library, developers building rich Flash experiences will be able to easily access the social features of Facebook Platform from external websites using Facebook Connect, from applications on Facebook, or from desktop applications,” the announcement says.
“New ideas may include the next generation of social games, seeing friends sharing and commenting on video or music streamed through Flash, or manipulating photos of yourself and your friends.”
Weighing the Two
Despite some people’s strong feelings for Silverlight, the fact remains that the majority of Web users have no idea what it is — and, when prompted to download it to run any MySpace Silverlight application, may or may not even understand the request. Flash, on the other hand, is close to a standard as there is (even without the iPhone on-board). Most computer users already have it installed — about 99 percent, according to some recent stats published in The New York Times.
Despite Microsoft’s attempt to use last year’s Olympics as a launching ground for Silverlight, the platform is still dwarfed by the ubiquity of Flash. Combine that with the ongoing trend of Facebook gaining ground and MySpace losing market share, and it seems the Facebook-Flash pairing is the clear winner all around.