Thought-provoking post from Joel Spolsky on web client APIs. He says that whoever has the best AJAX library will be the next Microsoft.
Spolsky dismisses “the p-code/Java model” (which would include Flash and Silverlight 1.1 as well as Java applets):
Sandboxes are penalty boxes; they’re slow and they suck, which is why Java Applets are dead, dead, dead. To build a sandbox you pretty much doom yourself to running at 1/10th the speed of the underlying platform, and you doom yourself to never supporting any of the cool features that show up on one of the platforms but not the others.
Personally I hope there will not be a “new Microsoft.” I’d like to see diversity based on web standards.