Imx Fix in my experience
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December 23, 2002 11:22 AM

For a long time tech industry pundits and stock analysts alike have been talking about the $40 billion that Microsoft has on hand. Typically the attitude taken is that having $40 billion to spend, but not buying anything and not handing out a dividend to stock holders means that MSFT is out of ideas for growing their business. When this angle is explained to me, I tend to agree, but not having some explain it to me, and recalling the basics from memory, I'm hazy on why that is the case.

Anyway, perhaps now we have a counter argument in the form of rumors that the 800 gorilla is in heat over a purdy young thing called Macromedia. More to the point, that Flash stuff might be useful. Right? The Register says so...

Industry and analyst sources believe Microsoft covets San Francisco, California-based Macromedia's Flash vector graphics design tool and player, which was radically updated this year.

Microsoft's own scripting efforts are regarded as relatively inferior to the cross-platform Flash, which now supports XML, Unicode, MP3 and HTML and which was taken closer towards Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) in 2002. The Flash Player, meanwhile, is compatible with most browsers and used on nearly 90% of desktops.
Now, I don't give The Register the same reporting credibility that I assign to the Associated Press, but they do make a good point that .NET could possibly benefit from the Flash technology base. I'm not exactly sure how, but that's for the Chief Technology Architect to figure out. In my humble opinion, the market place competition factors are more readily understood and equally interesting.

Flash runs everywhere. It runs under Linux and Mac OSX (and Classic of course), which are (imho) the only two competitors to Windows hegemony. MSFT wants Flash to use as a competitor to J2EE, which is a purely competitive move, and shows that there are some ideas coming out of Redmond these days other than tablets and pocket pc's that I don't want. That's good! But if MSFT owns Flash, you can probably say good bye to the Flash plugin in the Netscape plugin format (MSFT has gone ActiveX controls only) which means "good bye Flash" for Linux. I'm fascinated to know might happen to the Flash authoring environment for Mac OSX. Would they continue to build it? Would the MSFT Mac BU expand and embrace?

Who knows, it's all rumor anyway.