Microsoft reveals the flashy Silverlight

16 Apr 2007

Microsoft yesterday unveiled its plans to provide competition to Adobe’s internet media plug-in platform Flash at the 2007 National Association of Broadcasters conference (NAB2007).

Silverlight is Microsoft’s new cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in that hopes to be a major player in delivering rich interactive applications (RIAs) on the web.

This platform will be compatible with various browsers on both the Mac and PC, including Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari.

“Silverlight is the only solution in the market today that enables content creators to tap into the broad ecosystem for Windows Media technologies while taking the web’s rich interactive application experience to new levels,” said Bob Muglia, senior vice-president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft.

Organisations that have already signed up to use this new plug-in media technology include Akamai Technologies, Brightcove Inc, Limelight Networks, Major League Baseball and Netflix Inc.

US online movie rental company NetFlix has a customer base of six million and according to its chief product officer Neil Hunt needs rapid and reliable scalability in the next few years “so all members can enjoy DVD-quality movies immediately on our instant-viewing feature”.

He added: “We depend on Microsoft Windows Media technologies and we’re excited about Microsoft Silverlight as a platform to enable instant watching of great content for all our members on multiple platforms.”

Silverlight uses Windows Media Video (WMV), Microsoft’s version of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) video standard, aiming to provide compatibility with the vast quantity of media content already on the internet.

Microsoft also plans to provide digital rights management support for developers using Silverlight

By Marie Boran