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Microsoft Releases Silverlight

Microsoft has turned on the Silverlight.

Silverlight 1.0, a development platform for delivering audio and video via the Web, was made available yesterday, according to a company press release. It's aimed at Adobe's ubiquitous Flash platform.

Silverlight is cross-platform and cross-browser, allowing usage and development on Macs and Linux. Its importance to Microsoft is hinted at by the fact that Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie is quoted in the release. "With today's release of Silverlight 1.0, we're making it possible for developers and designers to deliver to individuals the kind of high-def experiences they crave by integrating data and services in rich and unique ways. Silverlight will further accelerate the growth in rich interactive applications by giving developers and designers new options for delivering great experiences that span the Web, PC, phone and other devices," Ozzie said. Ozzie is rarely quoted in press releases, and is driving much of Microsoft's vision now that Chairman Bill Gates is transitioning to a part-time role within the company.

To make inroads against Flash, Silverlight needs to offer some functionality Flash doesn't; and it does that in its initial release, offering 720p high-definition video for higher quality. Flash is working on its own version, but hasn't delivered a product yet that can handle resolution that high.

Microsoft also announced an extension of its growing relationship with Linux vendor Novell. According to the release, Microsoft will deliver Silverlight support for Linux under the name Moonlight. It's expected to be ready in about six months.

Microsoft first announced Silverlight in April, at the National Association of Broadcasters conference. It hit its timeframe, as final availability was put at Summer 2007. Silverlight, previously called Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere (WPF/E), is part of the .NET Framework.

Microsoft is also counting heavily on its partners to promote -- and, in many cases -- use Silverlight. In the same release, Microsoft announced the launch of the Silverlight Partner Initiative, which brings with it marketing and technical resources. More than 35 companies have joined the partnership, including Akamai, Pinnacle Systems and Cynergy Systems. Online content provider partners include Entertainment Tonight, MLB.com, the Home Shopping Network and World Wrestling Entertainment.

Silverlight is a free download from the Microsoft site.

In addition to Silverlight, Microsoft released Expression Encoder 1.0 for designers and multimedia authors. Expression is Silverlight's built-in encoder.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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