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Silverlight vs Google Wave, It’s about Karma

Posted by Charles | June 1, 2009 .

It seems Silverlight and Googe Wave are like apple and orange. How could they be compared. ZOHO CEO Sridhar Vembu did just that with emails and blogging. Vermbu has been taking on and now obviously Microsoft. Does he have good points this time?

I think so and the comparison is reasonable after reading along.

As Vermbu wrote, “It is easy to dismiss all this with, “Oh, the press just loves to hype everything Google and loves to hate Microsoft,” but that cannot explain why even competitors like us are willing to embrace Google’s innovations, but stay away from perfectly good innovations from Microsoft, such as Silverlight?”

Well, there is a reason Vermbu likes to brought out, “It comes down to one word: karma. Microsoft just has so much bad karma in this industry that I cannot imagine a company like us trusting them on much of anything.”

Thus, it’s not so much about comparing this two products, rather, it’s about how these two products’ lifecycles could be and where they stand. As Vermbu states:

Let’s try to imagine what a Google Silverlight would have been. It would have been a fully open source product from Google, with a very liberal open source license (BSD or Apache). It would have all the technical specifications published openly. They would pledge to have the Silverlight VM interoperate with JavaScript and HTML5. And a company like Zoho would have a ton of developers working on Google Silverlight-based applications by now — as opposed to having exactly ZERO developers working on Microsoft Silverlight. Please note that this has nothing to do with the technology: as I said before, I happen to agree that Silverlight is a great piece of technology.

At some point I’d like hear Mr. Vembu’s take on Adobe Flex and their open source approach. Anyway, the rest of writing seems resonant very well with people work with web technologies:

“What could Microsoft do to earn our trust? For starters, they could really support all the web standards on IE. IE is increasingly an embarrassment of a browser and a pain for developers to support. The only reason IE is making any progress at all is the
competition from Firefox, Safari and Chrome. I know, IE was once known for web innovation, including AJAX — but that was the time Microsoft was really trying to catch up and beat Netscape. Fair or not, the impression independent developers get is that Microsoft would prefer the web to stay crippled, so pesky applications that challenge their cash cows can stay frozen as “online WordPad,” as Bill Gates put it.

That brings us back to Google: today, it is Google which is driving web standards forward. That is why we at Zoho are firmly aligned with them, even if they are our primary competitor. We believe in an open web, there is plenty of opportunity for all of us. Could Google abuse its position? Well, I am sure they understand karma!”

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1 Comment so far
  1. Alyxandor James  January 7, 2010 4:39 am

    Very well put!

    It is all about Karma and community development.
    With Google, I can talk to, and work with their employees.
    I can submit a patch or bug report knowing it’s for greater good.
    I feel like the energy I pour into Wave or Appengine or GWT
    Is like adding drops to a bucket we all drink from.

    With Microsoft,
    It feels like their every move is profit motivated.
    Shareholders first, then users, then developers.
    Even when they do pump out a good product,
    All I can think of is “IE6 CSS Hacks”,
    And my lip quivers a little…


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