Microsoft Mulling End for Silverlight: Rumor

Dennis Faas's picture

Rumors are circulating that Microsoft is gearing up to let Silverlight fall by the wayside. The newest version, Silverlight 5, which is reportedly due to be finalized and released for manufacturing by the end of November, may be the company's last.

Silverlight is used by Microsoft for the creation of rich media and smartphone apps. Its features make it a rival for Adobe's popular Flash application framework.

Insiders have also been hinting that the new version of Silverlight will not work with browsers other than Microsoft's own Internet Explorer (Silverlight 4 now works with both Windows and Mac systems, and runs on both Chrome and Safari), and that the company seems unlikely to support Silverlight 5 for very long. (Source:

Team's Reorganization Prompts Speculation

The rumors are based on the fact that the Silverlight team recently underwent a major reorganization. Many members were forced to take other projects within Microsoft, or to even leave the company for other opportunities.

For it's part, Microsoft has refused to comment on the future of Silverlight, and has refused to specify an end date for company support of Silverlight 4. Normally, the company gives developers and end users a full year's notice before pulling the plug on software support.

If long-term support for Silverlight 5 is not in the cards, users should not expect to see any post-release updates for it. This would mean an end to fixes issued to remove bugs, patch security holes, and enhance performance within Microsoft software and operating systems.

Death of Silverlight No Reason to Panic

It's likely that few will mourn the passing of Silverlight.

Some developers feel the loss of Microsoft support for Silverlight would be a non-event, since the lines between another framework, XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language), and Silverlight have been blurring for some time. XAML is entirely suitable for Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Xbox software development. (Source:

If Microsoft is truly killing Silverlight or limiting its future to mobile platforms, we might be witnessing a trend. Adobe has recently announced an end to development of a mobile version of Flash, in favor of an increased focus on HTML5 (Hyper Text Markup Language), which is currently being used on up-to-date web browsers across all platforms.

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