Microsoft Releases Silverlight 2, Already Reaching One in Four Consumers Worldwide



    
    Microsoft announces new rich Internet applications development and
    streaming media features; company outlines plans for supporting Windows,
    Mac and Linux tools for developing Silverlight applications.
    

    REDMOND, WA, Oct. 13 /CNW/ -- Microsoft Corp. today announced the
availability of Silverlight 2, one of the industry's most comprehensive and
powerful solutions for the creation and delivery of applications and media
experiences through a Web browser. Silverlight 2 delivers a wide range of new
features and tools that enable designers and developers to better collaborate
while creating more accessible, more discoverable and more secure user
experiences.
    (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO)
    Microsoft also announced further support of open source communities by
funding advanced Silverlight development capabilities with the Eclipse
Foundation's integrated development environment (IDE) and by providing new
controls to developers with the Silverlight Control Pack (SCP) under the
Microsoft Permissive License.
    "We launched Silverlight just over a year ago, and already one in four
consumers worldwide has access to a computer with Silverlight already
installed," said Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET Developer
Division at Microsoft. "Silverlight represents a radical improvement in the
way developers and designers build applications on the Web. This release will
further accelerate our efforts to make Silverlight, Visual Studio and
Microsoft Expression Studio the preeminent solutions for the creation and
delivery of media and rich Internet application experiences."
    Silverlight adoption continues to grow rapidly, with penetration in some
countries approaching 50 percent and a growing ecosystem that includes more
than 150 partners and tens of thousands of applications. During the 17 days of
the 2008 Olympics Games in Beijing, NBCOlympics.com, powered by Silverlight,
had more than 50 million unique visitors, resulting in 1.3 billion page views,
70 million video streams and 600 million minutes of video watched, increasing
the average time on the site (from 3 minutes to 27 minutes) and Silverlight
market penetration in the U.S. by more than 30 percent. Broadcasters in France
(France Televisions SA), the Netherlands (NOS), Russia (Sportbox.ru) and Italy
(RAI) also chose Silverlight to deliver Olympics coverage online. In addition,
leading companies such as CBS College Sports, Blockbuster Inc., Hard Rock Cafe
International Inc., Yahoo! Japan, AOL LLC, Toyota Motor Corp., HSN Inc. and
Tencent Inc. are building their next-generation experiences using Silverlight.
    "CBS College Sports Network streams more than 20,000 hours of live
content annually for our 150-plus college and university official athletic
partners, so we demand that our video player environment be both consumer
friendly and robust," said Tom Buffolano, general manager and vice president,
Digital Programming and Subscription, CBS Interactive-Sports. "Silverlight was
the perfect choice to help develop and power our new, exclusive online
collegiate sports experience, as it features the best price and performance of
any streaming media solution on the market today. Silverlight also gives us
the most flexibility in expanding the product in the future as we develop
embeddable players and mobile platforms and explore new advertising
integration opportunities."

    Continued Commitment to Openness and Interoperability

    Microsoft announced plans to support additional tools for developing
Silverlight applications by providing funding to Soyatec, a France-based IT
solutions provider and Eclipse Foundation member, to lead a project to
integrate advanced Silverlight development capabilities into the Eclipse IDE.
Soyatec plans to release the project under the Eclipse Public License Version
1.0 on SourceForge and submit it to the Eclipse Foundation as an open Eclipse
project.
    Microsoft also will release the Silverlight Control Pack and publish on
MSDN the technical specification for the Silverlight Extensible Application
Markup Language (XAML) vocabulary. The SCP, which will augment the powerful
built-in control set in Silverlight, will be released under the Microsoft
Permissive License, an Open Source Initiative-approved license, and includes
controls such as DockPanel, ViewBox, TreeView, Accordion and AutoComplete. The
Silverlight XAML vocabulary specification, released under the Open
Specification Promise (OSP), will better enable third-party ISVs to create
products that can read and write XAML for Silverlight.
    "The Silverlight Control Pack under the Microsoft Permissive License
really addresses the needs of developers by enabling them to learn how
advanced controls are authored directly from the high-quality Microsoft
implementation," said Miguel de Icaza, vice president, Engineering, Novell.
"By using the OSP for the Silverlight vocabulary, they further solidify their
commitment to interoperability. I am impressed with the progress Microsoft
continues to make, and we are extremely satisfied with the support for
Moonlight and the open source community."
    Beyond funding development in the free Eclipse IDE, Microsoft currently
delivers state-of-the-art tools for Silverlight with Visual Studio 2008 and
Expression Studio 2. In addition, support is now extended to Visual Web
Developer 2008 Express Edition, which is a free download.
    "We wanted to build a cutting-edge, rich Internet application that
enables our customers to search our vast database of content and metadata so
they can access movie reviews, watch high-quality movie trailers, and either
rent or buy movies from our new MovieLink application," said Keith Morrow,
chief information officer, Blockbuster. "Because Silverlight 2 now includes
several new rich controls such as data grids and advanced skinning
capabilities, as well as support for the .NET Framework, allowing us to access
our existing Web services, we were able to easily maintain the high standards
of the Blockbuster brand and bring the application to market in record time."

    
    Delivering Features for Next-Generation Web Experiences
    Highlights of new Silverlight 2 features include the following:
    --  .NET Framework support with a rich base class library. This is a
compatible subset of the full .NET Framework.
    --  Powerful built-in controls. These  include DataGrid, ListBox, Slider,
ScrollViewer, Calendar controls and more.
    --  Advanced skinning and templating support. This makes it easy to
customize the look and feel of an application.
    --  Deep zoom. This enables unparalleled interactivity and navigation of
ultrahigh resolution imagery.
    --  Comprehensive networking support. Out-of-the-box support allows
calling REST, WS(*)/SOAP, POX, RSS and standard HTTP services, enabling users to
create applications that easily integrate with existing back-end systems.
    --  Expanded .NET Framework language support. Unlike other runtimes,
Silverlight 2 supports a variety of programming languages, including Visual
Basic, CNo., JavaScript, IronPython and IronRuby, making it easier for
developers already familiar with one of these languages to repurpose their
existing skill sets.
    --  Advanced content protection. This now includes Silverlight DRM,
powered by PlayReady, offering robust content protection for connected
Silverlight experiences.
    --  Improved server scalability and expanded advertiser support. This
includes new streaming and progressive download capabilities, superior search
engine optimization techniques, and next-generation in-stream advertising
support.
    --  Vibrant partner ecosystem. Visual Studio Industry Partners such as
ComponentOne LLC, Infragistics Inc. and Telerik Inc. are providing products
that further enhance developer capabilities when creating Silverlight
applications using Visual Studio.
    --  Cross-platform and cross-browser support. This includes support for
Mac, Windows and Linux in Firefox, Safari and Windows Internet Explorer.
    More information and details about Silverlight 2 are available by reading
the Silverlight 2 fact sheet at
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/silverlight/default.mspx.
    

    Get Silverlight 2

    Silverlight 2 will be available for download on Tuesday, Oct. 14, at
http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight. Customers already using a previous
version of Silverlight will be automatically upgraded to Silverlight 2.
    A technology preview of the Soyatec project is available today at
http://www.eclipse4sl.org, with a complete version available in second half of
2009.
    Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq:   MSFT) is the worldwide leader in
software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their
full potential.




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