Today at the 2007 National Association of Broadcasters conference (NAB2007), Microsoft and Adobe have gone tit for tat with product launches that directly target one another. Our previous post covered Adobe's launch of a new Internet video solution, that competes with Microsoft's Windows Media Player. And Microsoft has fired right back, unveiling Microsoft Silverlight - a re-branding of their WPF/E technology (Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere). In its announcement, Microsoft describes Silverlight as a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering media and rich interactive applications (RIAs) for the Web. So basically it is Microsoft's equivalent to Adobe's Flash.

Also, as is usual when Microsoft launches a new media product these days, they have brought on board a number of high profile partners. In this case they include Akamai Technologies Inc., Brightcove Inc., Eyeblaster Inc., Limelight Networks, Major League Baseball and Netflix Inc.

More details on Tim Sneath's Microsoft blog. Ryan Stewart also has a good write-up, noting that "Silverlight finally gives Microsoft an easy web video solution."

What are we to make of the sudden increase in Microsoft vs Adobe competition? The world of RIAs is increasing in importance, as Internet users seek out better "experiences" - both in the browser and outside it, and both online and offline. While Google is happy to utilize Ajax in the browser as its RIA weapon of choice, Microsoft and Adobe are busy battling it out in the 'richer' products - which either extend the browser or utilize the desktop.