RIA plug-in stats: Flash dominates

I’ve just come across which has statistics on which RIA (Rich Internet Application) plug-ins are installed on which browser.

The stats are from a relatively small sample: it claims to have analysed 1.5 million browsers across 42 sites at the time of writing.

The headline: Flash is on over 97% of browsers; but only 52% are at version 10. Java is on just under 75%, while Silverlight can only muster 20% penetration.

I also noticed that Firefox (25%) users are more likely to have Silverlight than IE (20%). Maybe all those locked-down corporate desktops.

Another snippet: less than 30% of Linux users have Sun’s Java plug-in installed.

Microsoft can take some comfort from the direction of the graph. In December 2008 only 15% of browsers had Silverlight. That’s pretty fast growth.

Still, the bottom line is that if you want to be fairly sure that your users have nothing to install in order to view your RIA content, use Flash. But stick to version 9.

3 thoughts on “RIA plug-in stats: Flash dominates”

  1. I think there are a few possibly misleading thing here. While installation % is interesting, it doesn’t tell us the % of RIA apps being developed for each platform. Most Flash development is not RIA. Also, even if Silverlight only has 20% installation that is not much of a problems as they have a pretty good automatic install experience. It is only really a problem in locked down corporates, old PC’s and Linux.

  2. @Craig I agree, it isn’t necessarily a problem is the install is smooth. The figures are still interesting though; for example, if they are an accurate portrayal of the whole web, they tell us that some 75% of users have never run a Silverlight app. Yet.


  3. Flash has achieved an enviable cycle where its ubiquity means designers/animators/developers/advertisers etc… use it because it is everywhere. Because so many people use it the latest Flash release adoption rates continue to accelerate. That’s an enviable adoption cycle that Java and Silverlight have not achieved.

    Some time ago Microsoft was claiming 25% adoption. The riastats numbers do not show evidence of significant ongoing adoption.

    I’m not saying it won’t happen but you can understand why Adobe isn’t panicking right now.

    On the plus side competition from Microsoft did light a fire under Adobe that has resulted in real benefits for Flex and Flash developers and designers.

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