While many see Microsoft Silverlight as an Adobe Flash killer, I actually think Adobe should rejoice that Microsoft is competing with Adobe on its own turf (i.e., media plug-ins) rather than putting all its energy, as it once did, into Web standards and innovation (IE 5.0 was the most robust and compliant Web browser of its time).
If Microsoft were to take a similar approach to the one it embraced in 1995, when it actually took the lead in Web technologies and provided the best Open Web browser implementation, new media functionalities such as video and 2D/3D would become an intrinsic part of the Web, making media plug-ins irrelevant to its future. In other word, if Microsoft were to go full Open Web (with SVG, Canvas, Smil, HTML 5, Video, and CSS3) Adobe Flash would be history in couple of years. However, Microsoft decided to follow Adobe’s plug-in strategy by forking visually rich capabilities into the plug-in world and throwing itself into a completely new market.
Why? Why follow when you can lead?