Rumor: Microsoft to shut down Silverlight after version 5

Microsoft has developed its Silverlight web browser plug-in software tool as a competitor to Adobe's Flash tools. But is Microsoft getting ready to throw in the towel regarding future Silverlight development? ZDNet.com claims via unnamed but multiple sources that the answer to that question could be "yes."

The article claims that not only could Microsoft close the books on Silverlight when version 5 is released later in November it also might not offer any service pack updates to Silverlight 5. Indeed, the article claims that its sources are unsure of how long Microsoft will offer official support for Silverlight 5 after it is released.

There's even a rumor from one source that claims Silverlight 5 will only work on Windows and only with Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. The current version of Silverlight supports both Windows and Mac operating system along with a number of different web browsers.

So are we really getting close to the end for Silverlight's development? We would guess the news is indeed true. The reason? Windows 8. Microsoft has said more than once that Windows 8 and the upcoming Internet Explorer 10 web browser would do away with plug-in programs and continuing development of Silverlight beyond version 5 would seem to run contrary to Microsoft's plans for Windows 8 and IE 10.

In any case, Microsoft has yet to confirm or deny anything about the future of Silverlight. 

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Wow, so much speculation and conflating of technological understanding in both the article and in the comments.

Look at a few facts for a second, then determine what you think.

1) Silverlight was a web RIA technology that is based on WPF that uses XAML.

2) WPF is a framework technology built on .NET that uses XAML also

3) HTML5 has the capabilities to provide what Silverlight did in a Browser, especially when running on IE10, where Silverlight no longer has a definitive performance advantage.

4) Windows 8 uses XAML and HTML5 technologies

5) WP7 uses XAML and uses a modified version of Silverlight as the main Platform Application model.

So...

Silverlight was an easy choice for WP7 as it was the XAML .NET framework, but far more secure than WPF and less demanding on hardware.

Windows 8, and WP8 are converging, at least in the XAML framework area, so that WP8 may no longer call the XAML framework Silverlight or not. But it will be a variation of the same set of technologies, and will also offer the convergence of HTML5 technologies that have moved to be more like Silverlight.

Windows 8 will continue to support the older frameworks, as there is no reason not to do so; however, it is introducing two new sets of technologies, with one that focuses on the Metro Apps and the other a further extension of the original XAML WPF technologies that are used even in the Aero/DWM composer of Windows 7 today.

IE9 demonstrated a new model for a browser, that no longer acted like a content browser, but a content compiler and rendering engine. This is why HTML5/CSS3 is now an option for Windows 8, and Microsoft, as using the IE engine technologies, they can compile and run HTML5 content as well as they can Silverlight XAML content.

With HTML5 features moving close to the Microsoft XAML model, this also makes it easy for Microsoft to provide a clean move for developers, as they can continue to use the newer generation programming concepts from XAML and .NET that are at least a generation beyond Apple's ObjectiveC/Core/Cocoa technologies and a few generations beyond JAVA's programing model.

WP7 and Silverlight itself have demonstrated that 'easy' programing can still be fast, secure, and extremely stable.

So if XAML technologies like Silverlight can now be implemented in HTML5/CSS3, even able to do complex video rendering with Smooth Streaming (MS has this working), why is there ANY need to continue development of a Silverlight Plug-in for browsers?

Does this mean the Silverlight technology is going away, No. Does this mean XAML and .NET are going away, No.

It just means Microsoft can accomplish their original goals using true Web Standards in HTML5/CSS3, and do so in a way that is as fast as Silverlight and also converge the programming model technologies from Silverlight/WPF to HTML5/CSS3 for the Web.

There is no reason at all to continue the Silverlight Plugin; however, Silverlight development doesn't stop, it just moves in a new direction where the compiling and delivery are HTML5 based.

thenetavenger said,
Wow, so much speculation and conflating of technological understanding in both the article and in the comments.

Look at a few facts for a second, then determine what you think.

1) Silverlight was a web RIA technology that is based on WPF that uses XAML.

2) WPF is a framework technology built on .NET that uses XAML also

3) HTML5 has the capabilities to provide what Silverlight did in a Browser, especially when running on IE10, where Silverlight no longer has a definitive performance advantage.

4) Windows 8 uses XAML and HTML5 technologies

5) WP7 uses XAML and uses a modified version of Silverlight as the main Platform Application model.

So...

Silverlight was an easy choice for WP7 as it was the XAML .NET framework, but far more secure than WPF and less demanding on hardware.

Windows 8, and WP8 are converging, at least in the XAML framework area, so that WP8 may no longer call the XAML framework Silverlight or not. But it will be a variation of the same set of technologies, and will also offer the convergence of HTML5 technologies that have moved to be more like Silverlight.

Windows 8 will continue to support the older frameworks, as there is no reason not to do so; however, it is introducing two new sets of technologies, with one that focuses on the Metro Apps and the other a further extension of the original XAML WPF technologies that are used even in the Aero/DWM composer of Windows 7 today.

IE9 demonstrated a new model for a browser, that no longer acted like a content browser, but a content compiler and rendering engine. This is why HTML5/CSS3 is now an option for Windows 8, and Microsoft, as using the IE engine technologies, they can compile and run HTML5 content as well as they can Silverlight XAML content.

With HTML5 features moving close to the Microsoft XAML model, this also makes it easy for Microsoft to provide a clean move for developers, as they can continue to use the newer generation programming concepts from XAML and .NET that are at least a generation beyond Apple's ObjectiveC/Core/Cocoa technologies and a few generations beyond JAVA's programing model.

WP7 and Silverlight itself have demonstrated that 'easy' programing can still be fast, secure, and extremely stable.

So if XAML technologies like Silverlight can now be implemented in HTML5/CSS3, even able to do complex video rendering with Smooth Streaming (MS has this working), why is there ANY need to continue development of a Silverlight Plug-in for browsers?

Does this mean the Silverlight technology is going away, No. Does this mean XAML and .NET are going away, No.

It just means Microsoft can accomplish their original goals using true Web Standards in HTML5/CSS3, and do so in a way that is as fast as Silverlight and also converge the programming model technologies from Silverlight/WPF to HTML5/CSS3 for the Web.

There is no reason at all to continue the Silverlight Plugin; however, Silverlight development doesn't stop, it just moves in a new direction where the compiling and delivery are HTML5 based.

GOOD Post.

I would love it if Neowin paired up writers to write these stories. It would be nice for example to see your commentary explaining (In a story) what clearly perplexes the writer of the article... It just seems to be getting worse all of the time.

You are right. Who cares if it is called Silverlight. XAML will still be around and there will be the new WinRT framework. The dev tools will still be around and there will be more options. The Metro part of Win8 will not have a plugin but still have XAML WinRT apps and on the desktop side of Win8 there will still be Silverlight, WPF, Win Forms, and all the old applications still.

If we get rid of WPF, Silverlight, WP7 Silverlight Subset, .Net, .Net Subset, and have only WinRT, XAML, HTML 5, C#, C++, JS then it will be nice. If we can use all languages, with one framework with no framework subsets or limitations then it will be great.

alexalex said,
Good. A failed platform which Microsoft with its arrogance thought will replace Adobe Flash.

Sure..

alexalex said,
Good. A failed platform which Microsoft with its arrogance thought will replace Adobe Flash.

But Microsoft HAS managed to kill of Flash. Windows 8 tablets don't support flash. Windows Phone doesn't support flash. Apple has contributed too. iOS will never support flash. So, Flash is dead as a dodo.

england_fanboy said,

But Microsoft HAS managed to kill of Flash. Windows 8 tablets don't support flash. Windows Phone doesn't support flash. Apple has contributed too. iOS will never support flash. So, Flash is dead as a dodo.

+1, whereas Silverlight if not a runtime I'm sure will be built in... Maybe rolled into .Net...

Too bad. Silverlight's a very rich development platform. The Windows division won over the DevDiv. Hopefully, Adobe won't do similar stupid things with Flash and AIR.

xpclient said,
Too bad. Silverlight's a very rich development platform. The Windows division won over the DevDiv. Hopefully, Adobe won't do similar stupid things with Flash and AIR.

Adobe SHOULD discontinue Flash... The world would be a better place.

M_Lyons10 said,

Adobe SHOULD discontinue Flash... The world would be a better place.


If you don't like it, uninstall it. You can do things in Flash you can't do in HTML5 + JS.

I think Silverlight will continue to be implemented but just in a different form. I like Silverlight - it has been quite stable for me, usage-wise, more so than Flash.

MistaT40 said,
I think Silverlight will continue to be implemented but just in a different form. I like Silverlight - it has been quite stable for me, usage-wise, more so than Flash.

+1. Same here. I can see them rolling up some things, but I can't see them discontinuing Silverlight at all.

So how do developers write applications for Windows Phone in future? WinRT/ WPF or something as replacement on Windows Phone?

I have no comments on brower plug-in as I seldom see people using it, besides Microsoft websites.

Well there really isn't much need for Silverlight but that being said I seriously doubt it will be going anywhere in the coming years, during which time Netflix and all those other Silverlight-using guys can go to HTML5 which Microsoft is supporting heavily.

Obry said,
Well there really isn't much need for Silverlight but that being said I seriously doubt it will be going anywhere in the coming years, during which time Netflix and all those other Silverlight-using guys can go to HTML5 which Microsoft is supporting heavily.

Except that the dev tools for large RIA applications aren't anywhere near as good as Silverlight. This kind of sucks.

Obry said,
Well there really isn't much need for Silverlight but that being said I seriously doubt it will be going anywhere in the coming years, during which time Netflix and all those other Silverlight-using guys can go to HTML5 which Microsoft is supporting heavily.

What you all need to realize is even if Silverlight is not present on the internet for you guys it is still used for business applications a lot. The dev tools are way better and development is fast and smooth. All developers know it is great for development and do not want to see it go away.

It's a rumor guys, doesn't mean it's going to be exactly what happens!!!

I can say Rumor: Android development to be shutdown after ICS, doesn't make it true though, does it?

If MS were going to "shut it down" they would have already done so I feel. There are plenty of of prior examples where they have done so already.

I really want to know why this guy is still being allowed to post on this site. So much BS from 1 person Bring back the good writers Neowin had not trash like this please.

-=SEDIN=- said,
Imagine Netflix with flash

What's wrong with that? Flash 11 got a lot faster. Microsoft needs to keep up with the competition. Actually Microsoft picked this fight so maybe they should venture into avenues they don't know.

UndergroundWire said,
What's wrong with that? Flash 11 got a lot faster.
Flashback: "What's wrong with that? Flash 10 got a lot faster". Flash Forward "Flash 12 got a lot faster".

Either improvements are being made here, or intermediate flash releases get slower than the #.0 versions. In Netflix's case though, it would give us Linux support.

cybertimber2008 said,
Flashback: "What's wrong with that? Flash 10 got a lot faster". Flash Forward "Flash 12 got a lot faster".

Either improvements are being made here, or intermediate flash releases get slower than the #.0 versions. In Netflix's case though, it would give us Linux support.


Atom N270 - 1.6 Ghz - Single Core with Hyper Threading
Smooth 1080p YouTube videos since Flash 10.1

UndergroundWire said,

What's wrong with that? Flash 11 got a lot faster. Microsoft needs to keep up with the competition. Actually Microsoft picked this fight so maybe they should venture into avenues they don't know.


Flash actually causes my system to heat up more than a game.. Yea really better >.>

DJ Dark said,

Flash actually causes my system to heat up more than a game.. Yea really better >.>

Wow you have a crappy system. My stem never did that. Perhaps because I built it and didn't want some manufacturer putting in cheap parts.

UndergroundWire said,

Wow you have a crappy system. My stem never did that. Perhaps because I built it and didn't want some manufacturer putting in cheap parts.

Um, my system in no way is crappy, and I built it.
Flash has always caused both my CPU usage and GPU usage to spike more than a graphically intense game.
Oh and thats across three different systems.

DJ Dark said,
Um, my system in no way is crappy, and I built it.
Flash has always caused both my CPU usage and GPU usage to spike more than a graphically intense game.
Oh and thats across three different systems.

I've built two systems and they run fine with full-on Flash. I guess I have the magic touch then.

DJ Dark said,
Um, my system in no way is crappy, and I built it.
Flash has always caused both my CPU usage and GPU usage to spike more than a graphically intense game.
Oh and thats across three different systems.

Same here.

I don't think the hardware in his machine is the reason Flash heats it up more than games. Think about it ... it's Flash versus games on the *same* hardware.

FWIW, I have the same issue on my laptop. Fullscreen Flash video (on certain sites) whacks up my GPU temperature more than most of my games. It seems a little too zealous in trying to make Flash smooth by running overly fast.

UndergroundWire said,

What's wrong with that? Flash 11 got a lot faster. Microsoft needs to keep up with the competition. Actually Microsoft picked this fight so maybe they should venture into avenues they don't know.

Who cares about speed when most viruses come from flash or acrobat. Adobe flash and acrobat sucks and needs to die off. Maybe this article should be about this one instead.
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/netw...33?tag=content;feature-roto

BillyJack said,

Who cares about speed when most viruses come from flash or acrobat. Adobe flash and acrobat sucks and needs to die off. Maybe this article should be about this one instead.
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/netw...33?tag=content;feature-roto

Flash is not dead. In fact if you read the article it will continue to support Android. They want developers to use AIR for Android Apps and HTML 5 for Browser. But Flash will not die just yet. They are not killing it for the desktop end. But they will not support new mobile browsers such as iPhone or WP. Android will still have it. Desktop will still have it. Thanks for reading the article.

Also I never got a virus from Flash or Acrobat. Maybe it's because I am not an idiot.

calimike said,
Flash is finally coming back to Win8 PC and Win8 Tablets

You cant use past tence in something that hasnt been released yet. I wouldnt be surprised if Silverlight was integrated with the UI

Not surprised if this is true. Flash is used everywhere and Silverlight is mostly used by Microsoft and Netflix and maybe a NFL site and the Hard Rock Cafe memorabilia site. It's kinda like ActiveWin.com still posting articles and nobody's commenting on it; WHAT'S THE POINT?

UndergroundWire said,
Not surprised if this is true. Flash is used everywhere and Silverlight is mostly used by Microsoft and Netflix and maybe a NFL site and the Hard Rock Cafe memorabilia site. It's kinda like ActiveWin.com still posting articles and nobody's commenting on it; WHAT'S THE POINT?

Um... Not to point out the obvious here, but Microsoft has leveraged Silverlight extensively. So it's not just about websites using it. In fact, the runtime goes WELL beyond website content... And with Flash not doing so well (And being a heck of a lot buggier), Silverlight certainly has room to grow...

M_Lyons10 said,

Um... Not to point out the obvious here, but Microsoft has leveraged Silverlight extensively. So it's not just about websites using it. In fact, the runtime goes WELL beyond website content... And with Flash not doing so well (And being a heck of a lot buggier), Silverlight certainly has room to grow...

Why is Flash buggier? Because it is heavily used. Where is Silverlight used that your average Joe may see it in action other than what I have mentioned? Don't throw out what you are saying with out links, otherwise, STAY QUIET!

UndergroundWire said,
Not surprised if this is true. Flash is used everywhere and Silverlight is mostly used by Microsoft and Netflix and maybe a NFL site and the Hard Rock Cafe memorabilia site. It's kinda like ActiveWin.com still posting articles and nobody's commenting on it; WHAT'S THE POINT?

Silverlight isn't just a media player framework, you know.
It's really easy to develop internal web apps for a company using Silverlight/ASP.NET, much more than using HTML/CSS/JS.

Aethec said,

Silverlight isn't just a media player framework, you know.
It's really easy to develop internal web apps for a company using Silverlight/ASP.NET, much more than using HTML/CSS/JS.

No kidding. I Know ESRI uses it for their GIS viewer but most clients prefer FLEX.

ViperAFK said,
Why would they release a new version and then "shut it down"?

this, they would just shut it down, why spend resources on something that you are going to kill?

robert_dll said,

this, they would just shut it down, why spend resources on something that you are going to kill?

Maybe because they've already had a pre-release and just wanna finish on a high note?

Epic0range said,
WP7 and Win8 dev uses a lot of Silverlight in it. I don't see this happening.

Win8 doesn't use any silverlight at all, it's XAML is just very similar to silverlight. It's similar because it is silverlight's replacement.

Omen1393 said,

Win8 doesn't use any silverlight at all, it's XAML is just very similar to silverlight. It's similar because it is silverlight's replacement.


Silverlight is much more than a web browser plugin. It's a rich and massive platform that goes well beyond browsers. Silverlight will continue to be used as a development platform for Windows Phone.

djdanster said,
I thought WP7 was highly reliant on Silverlight....

It is, but it will most likely be replaced with the Windows 8 runtime because that borrows heavily from WP7's silverlight apps, in fact you can easily port silverlight apps to the Windows 8 runtime.

Tom said,
Yeah.
Not going to happen.

I heard a rumor that Neowin will be shut down after 2011 because of the quality degradation.

RealFduch said,

I heard a rumor that Neowin will be shut down after 2011 because of the quality degradation.

That was ActiveWin.com. You see they posted pro only Microsoft articles back in the day. But Microsoft doesn't make that much news anymore so ActiveWin.com had to fail. NeoWin try's to post other articles and the fan boys still cry. Maybe they should post Pro Microsoft articles only and see if they can recreate ActiveWin.com.

UndergroundWire said,

That was ActiveWin.com. You see they posted pro only Microsoft articles back in the day. But Microsoft doesn't make that much news anymore so ActiveWin.com had to fail. NeoWin try's to post other articles and the fan boys still cry. Maybe they should post Pro Microsoft articles only and see if they can recreate ActiveWin.com.

Well, there's WinRumors, which is grown at a record pace. Just visit the WinRumors comments section to find out what Android UI is like.

england_fanboy said,

Well, there's WinRumors, which is grown at a record pace. Just visit the WinRumors comments section to find out what Android UI is like.

Why would I read what those idiots write about it. Should I go to an Apple site to read about what they think too? Your just a gigantic fool if you think anybody takes those comments seriously.

UndergroundWire said,

That was ActiveWin.com. You see they posted pro only Microsoft articles back in the day. But Microsoft doesn't make that much news anymore so ActiveWin.com had to fail. NeoWin try's to post other articles and the fan boys still cry. Maybe they should post Pro Microsoft articles only and see if they can recreate ActiveWin.com.

Your comments are hilarious... Yeah, Microsoft's not up to anything at all...

Tom said,
Yeah.

Not going to happen.

Yeah, I could see them rolling up some of the development tools a little maybe, but I just can't see them getting rid of Silverlight all together. They've leveraged it too much internally.

I can understand stopping development, but since XBox.com currently heavily relies on Silverlight, I do not see them only supporting Windows and IE. No way at all.

DirtyLarry said,
I can understand stopping development, but since XBox.com currently heavily relies on Silverlight, I do not see them only supporting Windows and IE. No way at all.

When their only success story *anywhere* afaict is Netflix I wouldn't be surprised if they put development on hiatus, I'd be surprised if it was actually canned though.

randomevent said,

When their only success story *anywhere* afaict is Netflix I wouldn't be surprised if they put development on hiatus, I'd be surprised if it was actually canned though.

?? I am not sure how this relates to what I said. I was saying I can definitely see them stopping development, but I do not see them only supporting Windows and IE as the article stated since XBox.com relies so heavily on Silverlight, and if they only support Windows and IE, surely there would be a whole lot of 360 owners who could not access Xbox.com

randomevent said,

When their only success story *anywhere* afaict is Netflix I wouldn't be surprised if they put development on hiatus, I'd be surprised if it was actually canned though.

With Netflix being 32% of bandwidth used in the United States I would say that's a pretty successful usage.

AmazingRando said,

With Netflix being 32% of bandwidth used in the United States I would say that's a pretty successful usage.

32%?

Whoa!! Had no idea.

Never used either of them, myself. Talking about BOTH Silverlight AND Netflix.

DirtyLarry said,
I can understand stopping development, but since XBox.com currently heavily relies on Silverlight, I do not see them only supporting Windows and IE. No way at all.

weird, MS put quite some effort into making a silverlight version for linux, called moonlight.
last update to moonlight, made by novell in cooperation with MS, is 12 april 2011....

so i guess, MS currently officially supports Silverlight on Windows, OSX and *nix systems...

DirtyLarry said,
I can understand stopping development, but since XBox.com currently heavily relies on Silverlight, I do not see them only supporting Windows and IE. No way at all.

They're not going to discontinue but I'd say in the future Silverlight will be geared towards competing with Adobe Air rather than the current situation - Microsoft have already confirmed that Silverlight isn't a competitor to Flash given that they view HTML5 roll to fill in the majority of positions where Flash is used. Adobe themselves realise the writing on the wall even though they're in their death throws - HTML5 pretty much replaces a large chunk of Flash use with Adobe Air pretty much addressing the few niche scenarios where particular technologies are needed (aka DRM for streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube's renting service etc.).