Microsoft Silverlight

What Does Microsoft Silverlight Mean?

Microsoft Silverlight is a multimedia framework for designing rich web applications with graphics and video. It uses a plug-in for several browsers, including Internet Explorer. While it was initially popular for creating streaming video, Microsoft announced that the product was reaching end of life in 2012. Silverlight is based on the .NET platform. It is also one of the two application development environments on Windows Phone.


Techopedia Explains Microsoft Silverlight

Microsoft Silverlight, first released in 2007, allows web developers to publish multimedia content on their websites as an alternative to Adobe Flash. Although it was intended as one of the development environments on Windows Phone, its best-known application is streaming video. Early versions of Netflix’s and Amazon’s streaming video services used Silverlight. Other notable uses included NBC’s streaming of the 2008 Summer Olympics, the 2010 Winter Olympics, as well as the 2008 Democratic and Republican conventions in the U.S. over the web. In May 2011, a survey estimated that Silverlight had a market penetration of around 64 percent.

Despite its success, Silverlight attracted criticism from advocates of open source and open web standards because of its use of a proprietary plug-in which was not supported on Linux browsers. Novell, working with Microsoft, developed an open source implementation called Moonlight, but eventually abandoned it due to lack of popularity.

In 2012, Microsoft announced the end of life of Silverlight, citing the move away from proprietary formats to HTML5 for multimedia on the web. Microsoft still plans to support Silverlight through October 2021.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.