Will Microsoft bundle Silverlight with IE8?

Any day now, details of IE8 will begin to emerge and my question will have a black and white answer. Until then though, I'm free to speculate about the best way for Microsoft getting Silverlight to the masses. Right now, I don’t see how else they could get quick adoption with minimal effort. For those who are scratching their heads at this point, Silverlight is essentially a Web-based version of Microsoft's Windows Presentation Foundation, the user-interface framework in Windows Vista. In other words, Silverlight is Microsoft’s answer to Flash (see, it is possible not to say Flash killer). The technology is backed by Microsoft’s .Net Framework; designers can use Microsoft Expression Studio and developers can use Microsoft Visual Studio to put together Silverlight applications for the interactive web. Those interested can choose from various languages, including JavaScript, Ruby, Python, C# and Visual Basic .NET.

Silverlight currently supports Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari, Windows and Mac OS, but no Opera or Linux. Still, I have to say, that’s definitely progress for Microsoft. On the other hand, they don’t exactly have a choice if they want mass adoption. Flash is definitely a cross-browser as well as a cross-platform plugin, and it has been thus so for quite some time. I have yet to hear anything in terms of Opera support, but there has been news of Linux progress made for Silverlight. Unfortunately, by progress I mean discussions but no public builds. Of course, that’s irrelevant when it comes to IE8, but it’s only fair to give a good background overview.

Microsoft is already testing websites with Silverlight-only features, and version 1.0 was released over three months ago. Internet Explorer 8 has not even reached beta form - there is plenty of time to get a new version of Silverlight finalized (1.1 has been in alpha form since September as well). One thing is certain: Microsoft has not picked an easy road for itself. Macromedia (now part of Adobe) has held the crown for ages. If you want multimedia applications on your website, there really isn’t a solid alternative to Flash. Consequently, Flash has not had many major changes over the years, although Adobe has recently made one big improvement: Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR). It should be noted that Sun’s JavaFX also wants in on the fun, but that doesn’t seem to be making as big of a splash as Silverlight, although if someone believes otherwise I’d be interested to hear their perspective.

AIR, previously codenamed Apollo, is actually meant for building rich Internet applications and exporting them to the flash format (.swf) or HTML files. Ideally, it is meant to ultimately succeed Flash, but in reality it is just a cross-OS extension to Adobe’s Flex Software Development Kit. AIR does not have an Integrated Development Environment: developers are encouraged to use their existing web development skills in HTML, AJAX, Flash and Flex. The point is, it isn’t exactly a successor to Flash, so it’s not as if Silverlight will become obsolete before it can reach a solid adoption level. As we’ve seen with Firefox and IE7, competition can be a wonderful thing. Chances are (given Microsoft's reach as well as IE's market share) that in a year or two, it will be necessary to have both Flash and Silverlight installed to get the “full online experience.”

Returning to the original question though, I honestly believe it comes down to whether or not Microsoft deems Silverlight ready to go. I personally haven’t seen any major quirks (or minor bugs for that matter) with version 1.0 (except for the lack of a x64 version, which Adobe happily doesn't support either), but then again there aren’t that many sites that make use of the wonderful technology. Microsoft can’t afford to push an unfinished version of Silverlight. Well, actually they can, but it would be such a waste seeing as the demos so far have been very impressive. If Microsoft does indeed plan to bundle it, I wonder if they will bother putting a checkbox at the beginning of the installation of IE8. If so, will it be checked by default? Anti-competitiveness is something Microsoft will be sure to try to avoid.

If you can’t see Microsoft bundling Silverlight with some version of Internet Explorer, how do you believe the software giant will push its Flash killer? Darn, I said it.

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So is that all the world governments or a new government with just random people?

The UN spying on me? I imagine that it would be rife with bureaucracy and corruption so I can't say I'm scared.

They need to stop adding **** to their browser and fix the security holes that they leave open so the government can check up on your browsing habits and have the ability to blame it on hackers.

Which governments are spying on you if you don't mind me asking? American? Russian? Chinese? European? Or perhaps they aren't even on this planet?

I tink teh Fiji guvment r spyingz on teh me ye! Nt 2 menten teh guvment of Greenland.

I think if IE 8 has the sliverlight embedded with various other software, or use sliverlight the way Flash is been used, start off with those little game websites that work on flash

I think Microsoft could get away with bundling it with IE, any regulator would look at effects on the market and considering the fact that Adobe practically control the market with no competition, it should be welcome ... they are not strengthening the Microsoft monopoly by doing it, they're attempting to tear down another one ... any effect would therefore be good.

I'm sure they don't have to bundle it, we all have to go out and download flash once in a while, but the chicken - egg situation is if no site uses it, you won't download it and if nobody has it, they won't make sites with it ...

Actually, this could be considered an abuse of monopoly: by bundling it with their OS/browser (on which they have a monopoly/near-monopoly), they would easily boost the Silverlight market share.

Then again, why should they bundle it? If you go to a Silverlight website without having Silverlight, you get a link to the Silverlight download site. Bundling is not required, as the program is only a few clicks away ;-)

Is there any website right now with Silverlight multimedia applications running on it? I'd like to try it out if possible to compare it to flash...

no, and here's why... It's actually part of the .NET 3.5 framework well not included in 3.5 but it will be in 4.0 but in 3.5 they included all the backend stuff for it and in Visual Studio 2008 they included all the tools for it... you just had to install one little addon... all it is really is a windows presentation framework extension

besides, flash works better and is much more common

Flash works better? on what planet ?


have you even tried silverlight versus flash ? silverlight is not only faster and smoother while using less resources, it's also doesn't take as long to download.

HawkMan said,
Flash works better? on what planet ?


have you even tried silverlight versus flash ? silverlight is not only faster and smoother while using less resources, it's also doesn't take as long to download.

I don't know about the media size item, but flash isn't that much to add. Silverlight (or Moonlight, in my case), however requires me to add in the .net framework (Mono, in my case).

I seriously find it hard to believe that this whole support system to run silverlight is using less resources than Flash. On my system, Flash 9 is a 1.4MB RPM download. Just the Mono core (don't know what other components may be required) is a 14MB file. That is a factor of 10 for the executables (no, I didn't cheat and use source code size). Once that is in place, then I can go get Moonlight. I don't think so.


EDIT: My story might be different if I required or used .net for anything else. But I sure has Hades don't need it just to play Sliver/Moonlight.

HawkMan said,
Flash works better? on what planet ?


have you even tried silverlight versus flash ? silverlight is not only faster and smoother while using less resources, it's also doesn't take as long to download.

Silverlight actaully uses MORE resources... just run a profiler against it... and having to have a 60MB framework for it vs a 2 MB flash program... big difference there in size also...

neufuse said,
Silverlight actaully uses MORE resources... just run a profiler against it... and having to have a 60MB framework for it vs a 2 MB flash program... big difference there in size also...

It's not 60mb, it's around 4mb at the moment (it might grow before it's final, but it wont be 60)

sialivi said,

It's not 60mb, it's around 4mb at the moment (it might grow before it's final, but it wont be 60)

The .NET framework is 60MB... haven't you seen it lately? .NET 2.0 was 58MB alone! Please read what I said closely... "and having to have a 60MB framework for it" so thats 60MB PLUS the silverlight addon if you want it's full features

neufuse said,

The .NET framework is 60MB... haven't you seen it lately? .NET 2.0 was 58MB alone! Please read what I said closely... "and having to have a 60MB framework for it" so thats 60MB PLUS the silverlight addon if you want it's full features

You realise that Silverlight IIRC is not dependent on .NET? I thought that the plugin itself didn't require the installation of .NET given that bundles only what it needs as part of the download.

kaiwai said,
You realise that Silverlight IIRC is not dependent on .NET? I thought that the plugin itself didn't require the installation of .NET given that bundles only what it needs as part of the download.
On Linux, anyhow, Silver(Moon)light does require .Net (or Mono).

Currently, it seems to require the full implementation (reference), but it seems that they are working on reducing the Moonlight requirements to only the .Net APIs that are necessary, plus the new APIs that Silver(Moon)light requires for the Silverlight-specific features.

If Microsoft's focus is on Silverlight, they have get it all wrong. IE itself is ages behind competing browsers in terms of web standards and user interface (IE7).

Fix/redo IE before incorporating/bundling anymore junk with it.

I don't think they're ages behind (faster or as fast as Opera + extension ability). They do need to make some changes though.

Silverlight seems to be the next step though. I wouldn't mind if they bundled it. I mean, hell, if you're trying to get an out-of-the-box working browser, it's not a bad idea. Though, I think a browser should come bundled with all the necessities honestly, with the option to remove on install of course. (Flash, a PDF reader)

T.W. said,
If Microsoft's focus is on Silverlight, they have get it all wrong. IE itself is ages behind competing browsers in terms of web standards and user interface (IE7).

Fix/redo IE before incorporating/bundling anymore junk with it.

indeed, there SO FAR behind, and they even admitted that they dont care about web standards
they will fail if they dont

Clearly some people are commenting on IE7 without actually using it since it's interface has more features and ease-of-use than FireFox.

X'tyfe said,

indeed, there SO FAR behind, and they even admitted that they dont care about web standards
they will fail if they dont

Have you ever coded anything that's backward compatible and used by million of users with a billion permutations?

C_Guy said,
Clearly some people are commenting on IE7 without actually using it since it's interface has more features and ease-of-use than FireFox.

Clearly, many people aren't realizing that "ease of use" is completely subjective.

If Microsoft's focus is on Silverlight, they have get it all wrong.

Microsoft is built out of many teams in many divisions. You have an IE team, who work on IE, you have a Silverlight team, who work on Silverlight. The teams focus on a myriad of designated projects. It's not the case of Microsoft are solely concentrating on Silverlight.

C_Guy said,
Clearly some people are commenting on IE7 without actually using it since it's interface has more features and ease-of-use than FireFox.

LOL. Yeah, ok.

You are correct. PDF is an open standard, and they seriously threatened Microsoft when they included the "Save to PDF" and "Save to XPS" options in Word 2007 -- They ended up not being able to bundle them, requiring them to be extra downloads.

Silverlight is a great idea, and I am really looking forward to the micro CLR they are pushing into Silverlight, because it will enable widespread adoption of the .NET Framework outside of Desktop and backend Server roles. I have already invisioned use of Silverlight/CLR in creating a modular interactive web application. It's going to be really interesting to see where this all goes. Flash is good, Microsoft have a really big challenge on their hands, and by no means an easy one. IE8 should be an interesting release.

There is no way that Microsoft would bundle in Silverlight. :mad:

They have enough trouble including integrated search into their own OS (i.e. Vista) never mind bundling this with IE.
You might think they could install both Silverlight AND flash to avoid problems but this hasn't worked for them before either, they had to remove the save as PDF/XPS functionality in Office 2007 and have that as a separate download (even though it is probably my most used new feature of Office 2007)
Best they can hope for is have it as a featured "add on" after setup is complete. Like how Vista says, now you have installed me why not install Windows Live stuff and OneCare etc.

You are right. Poor old Microsoft is being crushed by legal problems, while Adobe, Apple and Google all prance around growing their market shares.

Microsoft should be able to include it, as a "tick here" option, just like so many applications try (unsuccessfully) to install the google desktop application onto my PC.

mrmckeb said,
You are right. Poor old Microsoft is being crushed by legal problems, while Adobe, Apple and Google all prance around growing their market shares.

Microsoft should be able to include it, as a "tick here" option, just like so many applications try (unsuccessfully) to install the google desktop application onto my PC.


Not to mention Yahoo "foolbar".

Hopefully, because it provides competition to Flash, and competition is good for the end users.

Sure, Silverlight may seen as having disadvantages being proprietary software, but the same goes for Flash, and both technologies support the most popular browsers and operating systems. Personally, I'd be mostly interested in Silverlight 1.1 to make use of my knowledge of .NET better. But if it's out of alpha, beta, and even done by the time of IE 8, I wouldn't be surprised if MS just go ahead and include it. It's not having a that big disk footprint anyway.

If so, will it be checked by default? Anti-competitiveness is something Microsoft will be sure to try to avoid.

If there's a checkbox, I don't think it matters if it's by default checked or not. In either case, they provide an option to the user. What they've been in trouble for before is when they haven't even provided an option and just bundled something.

Jugalator said,

If there's a checkbox, I don't think it matters if it's by default checked or not. In either case, they provide an option to the user. What they've been in trouble for before is when they haven't even provided an option and just bundled something.

You forgot most end users and even some beta I-found-on-my-language's-site-as-a-free-download-users never even read checkboxes, they just keep pressing Next.
THAT is the question. Will it be default checked so the average Joe will install it without knowledge?

If people don't read what they're clicking Next to it's their own fault if they end up with software they don't want. There's a REASON there's a next button. It's so the Installer can tell you what it's going to do and offer you a chance to customize.

You forgot most end users and even some beta I-found-on-my-language's-site-as-a-free-download-users never even read checkboxes, they just keep pressing Next.

I didn't forget a thing. Stop assuming things.

The thing is that if the user has his/her eyes closed when clicking on the Next button while headbanging and singing Britney Spears' latest single, that's then entirely their own fault.

Maybe you forgot about that? :-p

Seriously, if they have a CHECK BOX, what more can they do? If you or someone else just randomly click Next buttons without even seeing what's checked, you deserve what's coming for you, not Microsoft. Microsoft will have provided the options for you that they can. There's no more to an option to provide than the option itself.

Snce IE8 will have to be installed by choice on XP and Vista machines there won't be any reasonw why it can't be bundled with IE8 or .Net Framework or both.

MightyJordan said,
Who cares if they bundle Silverlight with IE8? It's a good program. Just a shame next to no one uses it.

True, it would be also for people to realise that Microsoft is just as evil as Adobe; at least with Microsoft, they're working with Novell to deliver *NIX/*BSD support instead of the current situation where Adobe works with no one and provides crap *NIX/*BSD support.