The 1.0 version of Silverlight, which is being released to the Web, is geared to providing video. Accessible at the Silverlight Web page, it has been available in a beta release. A more potent successor, Silverlight 1.1, will provide for more interactive content, including support for .Net development and transactional capabilities. It remains only available in an early alpha release format.
While Silverlight currently works with Windows and Macintosh, Microsoft is endorsing Novell’s plan to make Silverlight run on Linux clients via the Moonlight project.
Microsoft cites several differentiators between Silverlight and Flash. Silverlight, Deshpande said, offers high-definition video at a lower cost and functions with Microsoft’s developer tools. The company also is offering a SaaS-based component, Silverlight Streaming by Windows Live.
Whether or not Silverlight will pose a threat to Macromedia’s ubiquitous Flash player remains to be seen, although Microsoft could have the advantage of being able to push Silverlight to Windows users through Microsoft Update (assuming such a move wouldn’t cause antitrust concerns).