Historically, Microsoft’s Windows Media technologies have always dominated the enterprise market for multiple reasons, the biggest being that the WM Player was bundled into the OS and the server is cheap to deploy. And while I think Microsoft still has the majority share of the enterprise market, Adobe continues to get more aggressive in targeting IT decision makers inside enterprise organizations.
With Adobe making the licensing costs for FMS3 a lot cheaper than they use to be, and the fact that live Flash is now considered stable in FMS3, I am beginning to hear from more enterprise customers who are now evaluating Flash. Previously, a year or so ago, I saw very few enterprise companies willing to even consider Flash for streaming inside their Intranet. And while Adobe has a long way to go before it displaces Windows Media anytime soon with the Fortune 500, it’s a clear sign that Adobe is trying to hit Microsoft where it hurts. The enterprise market has always been one that Microsoft has dominated and that other video formats have not tried to penetrate since RealNetworks stopped getting the majority of their revenue from server licenses almost seven years ago.
Another sign of this push by Adobe is the number of articles I see about video in the enterprise that quote Adobe or talk about Flash. (see: Streaming Media In The Enterprise) In the past, you rarely saw Adobe talking about the enterprise market or saw them quoted in enterprise focused editorial coverage. Seems that is starting to change.
While most people always talk about Adobe and Microsoft going head to head for all online video, I don’t think they really do. Microsoft has always been the winner for video that was live, needed to be downloaded, played on devices or needed DRM. And Adobe has always been the winner for video that was used for advertising, media and entertainment content, true cross platform for Mac users and content that require embedding and custom design. The new version of FMS3 is getting some traction to challenge Microsoft for live content and Microsoft is trying to challenge Adobe in other areas with Silverlight.
But Adobe starting to go after enterprise video is new and shows signs that they are really taking the gloves off. It’s too early to know if Adobe can displace or eat into Microsoft’s
share of the enterprise market, but it’s something to keep a close eye