I was reading a Scoble post, regarding the latest release of Adobe, and the possible release of an Silverlight offline version within next days. Robert features the article between an online / offline war, “What is the best”. In my humble opinion, i see the Adobe and Microsoft recent changes and moves, more as a commercial objective rather than the online is better than the offline or what so ever. As you know Microsoft is the biggest desktop environment software provider, while Adobe, the biggest on web development. Each one of these companies, want to attract their developers to deliver online and offline applications on antagonist ways. Microsoft with Silverlight, Adobe with Air.
Now i came up with 2 questions, first, if both companies want a part of each markets, that could mean market share would stay almost the same if we calculate web plus desktop market share of each company, but that’s not true. Why? Cause the developers will choose the platform that better fill their needs, as also will ask from them less programming changes. i.e. If you are working with Adobe, you can use AS3 almost for everything, while within Microsoft we can’t say the same. Although, Bill’s company is not blind and is trying to approach customers by attaking the weak points of Flash. i.e. While using Adobe Flash, if you want to make a change in your SWF file, you must decompile it and work within the fla file, with Silverlight things are much easier. So, will win the war, who will request less changes and better/faster development features.
Now, will online win to offline? NO! I don’t think so. There is room for everyone. Like Robert says, it is much easier to him, to install the Firefox, and get everything he needs in the web. But in the other hand, it is also true that if we are speaking about companies web sites that offers some kind of applications that need to be reliable and faster, than desktop is the best option.
This question remembers me the time when Adobe launched the Flex, and many people didn’t know if they would use Flash or Flex, and if Flash would stay for more time. As you see, the Flash market didn’t finished, but Adobe, created a new market for RIA.