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11/2/2010
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Microsoft Clarifies 'Shifted' Silverlight Strategy

Microsoft’s Bob Muglia says Silverlight continues to have a place for Web application development but acknowledges that HTML5 will have "the broadest cross-platform reach."




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Microsoft has clarified recent comments made at the Professional Developers Conference that sparked speculation that the company’s commitment to Silverlight was waning, as it developed tools for using HTML5 as the platform for running Web-delivered client applications.

The comments that raised eyebrows came from Bob Muglia, president of the Server and Tools Division at Microsoft. In an interview with ZDNet at the PDC, Muglia commented on how Microsoft's commitment to HTML5 has affected its Silverlight strategy.

"Our strategy has shifted," Muglia said, according to ZDNet.

The comment left developers wondering about Silverlight's future, so Muglia explained what he meant in a blog post Monday. "This isn't a negative statement," Muglia said of his PDC comment. "But, rather, it's a comment on how the industry has changed and how we're adapting our Silverlight strategy to take advantage of that."

Muglia said Silverlight is a rich user interface framework that runs smooth animations and lends itself to touch input and embedded devices, particular smartphones with Windows Phone 7, the mobile operating system that's scheduled to be available in handsets on Nov. 8. Therefore. Silverlight will be an important technology for developers to build applications they can't with HTML.

"The purpose of Silverlight has never been to replace HTML, but rather to do the things that HTML (and other technologies) can’t, and to do so in a way that’s easy for developers to use," Muglia said.

With the number and types of Internet-connected devices growing, HTML5, which is under the control of the World Wide Web Consortium, is likely to provide "the broadest cross-platform reach across all these devices," Muglia said.

"At Microsoft, we’re committed to building the world’s best implementation of HTML5 for devices running Windows," he said.

While Microsoft is focused on Silverlight in WP7, the technology, like Adobe's competing and more ubiquitous Flash, are getting shut out of some mainstream mobile app development. Apple has banned Flash from the iPhone and iPad and Microsoft didn't even try to deliver Silverlight for those devices. However, there is a Mac version of the technology.

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