Microsoft is wooing the business community as it looks to take on Adobe's popular Flash suite with the latest release of its Silverlight Rich Internet Application (RIA) toolkit.
In the financial services arena, Microsoft is working with UK-based Lab49 to implement the technology, which can be used to create rich desktop-like applications for clients through a browser.
"RIA has become a core technology strategy for innovative companies seeking to provide clients with differentiated offerings that deliver research, trading and operational functionality," says Vivake Gupta, managing director at Lab49. "The arrival of the Silverlight 3 platform enables us to deliver richer solutions and more functionality with a shorter time to market and lower overall cost."
This is becoming a key battleground in the electronic trading space as sell-side firms look to win over institutions with functionally-rich, Web 2.0-type applications that streamline access to research and analysis from the sales desk.
Earlier this month, Morgan Stanley took the wraps off Matrix, a new trading Web application for institutional clients that allows rich, real-time collaboration through chat, video, sharing of trade ideas and charts, and execution and trade allocation. It was built using Adobe's Flash Platform technologies, including the Flex framework based around Rich Internet Application (RIA) technologies.
Lab49 sees a number of key benefits in the new versions of Microsoft's Silverlight platform and Expression tools for financial services. Daniel Chait, managing director at Lab49 said, "The new Expression Sketchflow tool is a revolutionary development that directly addresses a core workflow of Lab49's agile, iterative approach. It allows teams to quickly prototype and sketch out designs for clients and easily incorporate their feedback." Additionally, the new Silverlight version provides out-of-browser support, allowing Silverlight applications to be installed and launched directly from user's desktops."