There are lots of posts these days about Microsoft embracing HTML5 over Silverlight. One prominent post is from Mary-Jo Foley. She follows Microsoft closely.
- Windows Phone 7 applications
- Video playing and streaming
- Higher end games
- Heavy data entry Internal Line of Business applications (LOB) replacing legacy WinForm Apps or new apps in favor of WPF. #1 is the most important one.
I have yet to see LOB applications in the web projects I have worked on which couldn't be satisfied with the use of AJAX and optimized web services to give them the feel of a desktop application.I have seen some cool UI effects in some public web pages. When I see some of these, I expecting Flash or Silverlight behind the scenes. When I right-mouse click, to my surprise, I notice the page is not using Flash or Silverlight. Web developers are getting more creative and pushing the envelope on what web standards and browsers without plugins can do.
I believe when Internet Explorer 9 is released and being adapted by most IE users, there will be a big transformation in what a web page can do. Web development will be more fun to create and use.
Apple with its blocking of Flash and Silverlight in its devices is a major force in getting developers abandon proprietary standards in favor of open ones.
When you're developing an application or service to meet the public demands, you should follow what users are using instead of going after a technology you have a personal interest in. A basic technology, which works for most users, is better than some eye candy which doesn't last long. An app made for tens of millions of users is better than a few thousand. Follow the money.