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Summary:

We have further confirmation that Microsoft is giving up on its Silverlight rich Internet application platform. Bob Muglia, Microsoft’s president in charge of server and tools, told ZDNet the company is “shifting away” from Silverlight as a cross-platform development framework, and pushing HTML5 instead.

silverlight

We now have further confirmation that Microsoft is giving up on its Silverlight rich Internet application platform. Bob Muglia, Microsoft’s president in charge of server and tools, told ZDNet that the company is “shifting away” from Silverlight as a cross-platform development framework, and pushing the HTML5 web standard instead.

There’s been plenty of evidence to suggest this was the case. After all, with the launch of Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft has fully embraced and touted many of HTML5’s features. But it doesn’t just stop there; Microsoft will be leveraging HTML5 for the latest version of its Bing search engine, and is using H.264-encoded HTML5 video in lieu of Silverlight Smooth Streaming for delivery of live video on its Xbox 360 game console.

Microsoft will continue to develop and lean on Silverlight, especially for application development on its recently launched Windows Phone 7 operating system for mobile devices. However, Muglia told ZDNet, “HTML is the only true cross-platform solution for everything, including (Apple’s) iOS platform.”

That Microsoft would align itself with Apple, especially in the embrace of a web standard, might seem peculiar to some. After all, the two software makers have been battling for decades in the PC space, and now are bumping heads in mobile as Microsoft tries to offer up a compelling alternative to Apple’s iPhone.

But it also makes sense that Microsoft would begin de-emphasizing Silverlight as a cross-platform development platform. Despite some of the advances Microsoft was able to push with its development, including HTTP and adaptive bit rate streaming, it wasn’t able to dethrone Flash as the de facto rich Internet application and video platform on the web. And with the emergence of HTML5, it was no longer a matter of playing second fiddle to Adobe, but lagging behind a web standard that was also being rapidly adopted.

To see what Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch has to say about adoption of HTML5 and its positioning against Flash, come see him speak at NewTeeVee Live on November 10 in San Francisco.

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  1. If you pay attention to the moves Microsoft has made in recent times, this announcement is no surprise.

    First Microsoft introduced H.264 encoding in Expression Encoder, then HTML5 in IE9, smoothstreaming for iPhone and the heavy investments in JQuery.

    I don’t know if Microsoft will kill Silverlight in the browser and the desktop or let it die slowly, but the future of Silverlight depends entirely on the success of WP7.

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    1. It’s no surprise that Microsoft would support the latest web standards in their new browser, that’s what a web browser developer is supposed to do.
      What is a huge surprise, is that Microsoft is essentially abandoning silverlight in favour of HTML5, who expected that?

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  2. Do this in HTML5: http://www.ladimolnar.com/fractalia/ and then we’ll talk.

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    1. The blank page I got when I surfed there seems easy enough to reproduce in HTML5.

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  3. @greg: Gee, I’d like to, but I’m on my iPad. Guess I’ll have get my vital, life-affirming fractal juice some other way.

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  4. Ryan, you are completely speculating based on a statement taken out of context. You’re like one of those terrible TV pundits that speculates just to get his viewership numbers up. Why don’t you do some research for a change?

    Just because there was little mention of Silverlight at PDC doesn’t mean Microsoft is giving up on it. If you saw Microsoft touting Javascript at PDC, would you assume they were dumping .NET?

    Also, there’s no such thing as “HTML5 video” streaming, especially not in the case of adaptive HTTP streaming. All adaptive streaming methods are proprietary: Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, Akami, etc. Again, do your research before typing.

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  5. Silverlight is now dead.

    By de-emphasizing Silverlight as a cross-platform development platform, Microsoft has just chopped off one of Silverlights’s legs. It has just removed the advantage of Silverlight being a web + phone platform.

    Now it is isolated as just a phone platform. And a little-used one at that. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 is now struggling to gain any traction, so Silverlight will forever be an isolated format.

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    1. The Silverlight on WP7 is only a name. The prgramming model, which is XAML + Code, is exactly the same as that in WPF and can be seen everywhere including workflow controls in .NET development. The WP7 Slverlight Runtime is obviously platform dependent which is also different to the one for the web. If they want, they can just change the name to WPF for WP7 to make Silverlight disappear

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  6. Does anyone know why Netflix would be stupid enough to embrace Microsoft proprietary technologies instead of open, cross-platform standards? Did Netflix really want to be at the mercy of one company for technology? Why?

    And this story should teach Netflix a lesson for embracing Silverlight. All the complaints about the Silverlight player should now go away. This is good news.

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  7. Does anyone know why Netflix would be stupid enough to embrace Microsoft proprietary technologies instead of open, cross-platform standards? Did Netflix really want to be at the mercy of one company for technology? Why?

    And this story should teach Netflix a lesson for embracing Silverlight. All the complaints about the Silverlight player should now go away. This is good news

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  8. Anyone read the full story ? in no place is said that silverlight is going down.

    Please read the article before posting commends

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  9. [...] is de-emphasizing Silverlight, and moving many of its development efforts to HTML5 instead. A Microsoft exec was recently quoted saying that the company is “shifting away” from from Silverlight as a cross-platform [...]

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  10. @LenaSundstrom Så korkat att de gjort sig beroende av en döende teknologi. http://t.co/D3a0seSq

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