Microsoft: Silverlight is Still Important to Us, We Promise

Silverlight has been an interesting story at Microsoft. Originally it was created as a Flash alternative and all-purpose platform for Microsoft software on multiple devices. Then it sort of fell by the wayside.

Not long after it’s release, HTML5 hit the scene and gained all the momentum, and Microsoft turned to it for Internet Explorer 9. At this year’s PDC conference, Bob Muglia gave in interview in which he said, “our Silverlight strategy and focus going forward has shifted.” This did not go over well with developers, who felt Silverlight and by extension their work with it was being abandoned.

So now Bob is clarifying his statements, and discussing what Silverlight means to Microsoft now and for the future. He says his primary points were:

  1. Silverlight is very important and strategic to Microsoft.
  2. We’re working hard on the next release of Silverlight, and it will continue to be cross-browser and cross-platform, and run on Windows and Mac.
  3. Silverlight is a core application development platform for Windows, and it’s the development platform for Windows Phone.

On top of those points, he discussed several trends that are the major factors of the “new” direction for Silverlight. You can read them straight from the blog to see how MS phrases it, but we interpret it as:

  • Silverlight is meant for web-delivered apps, hopefully for businesses
  • Silverlight is what Windows Phone 7 runs on. Don’t forget it when you’re impressed by WP7 and its apps.
  • Steaming video is still a big deal for Silverlight.
  • HTML5 is more versatile than Silverlight, so we’re using it with IE9. But we still think Silverlight can succeed on streaming media and apps.

Again, take a look at the blog post about it and see what you think. Does Silverlight have a real future? Or will it fall out of style permanently?

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