Microsoft Shifts From Silverlight to HTML5

Intro: Adobe isn’t the only company being tempted by the sweet taste of HTML5, Microsoft has a hankering for the stuff too. Despite its past efforts to shape Silverlight into the leading cross-platform runtime for the web and the desktop, Microsoft now says that its strategy and plans for Silverlight “has shifted.”

Key Points:

  • Bob Muglia, the president of Microsoft’s server and tools business said, “HTML is the only true cross platform solution for everything, including (Apple’s) iOS platform.”
  • As a video technology — indeed even as an application technology — Silverlight and WPF are actually pretty nice. I attended a two-day XAML workshop held at Microsoft’s Atlanta offices in 2009 and was very impressed with the capabilities and the toolsets that were possible within Silverlight.
  • Silverlight has had a problem gaining traction across the web. With the exception of the Olympics and a few other live broadcasts, you almost never see Silverlight used on the web.
  • It’s clear that Microsoft — like Adobe, Apple and Google — sees that HTML5 is the technology that will work across the broadest stretch of devices — and more importantly, will work on future devices.
  • Yes, the W3C has stated that the HTML5 spec isn’t yet ready for full use, and in a broad, global sense, this is true.
  • As a technology, Silverlight has a lot of promise and we think it is still interesting. Still, we can’t help but think Microsoft is making a better strategic move to focus on HTML5 as its cross-platform solution going forward.

My Take: I’m also very surprised by this announcement, showing that a new (open and free) standard is rising. Mostly because I think having understood at REMIX 2010 that Silverlight is a cornerstone for developing on several Microsoft platforms.
But this comes from a server and tools business president and not by a business decision maker. Which could explain a CTO’s excitement for technological (un-mature) trends…


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1 Response to Microsoft Shifts From Silverlight to HTML5

  1. Fior says:

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the great work Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

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