Microsoft To Release Silverlight 2 In Late Summer

In a Thursday blog post, Microsoft developer Ashish Thapliyal said Microsoft is "targeting late Summer" for its release of Silverlight 2.0, which is currently in its first beta release.

Silverlight 2.0 supports VC-1, WMV, MP3 and WMA content, but Microsoft has no plans to support the Flash video (.flv), used by Youtube and many other Websites, said Thapliyal. Microsoft's rationale here is to avoid paying licensing fees and to keep the Silverlight download file size as small as possible, he added.

"Silverlight isn't designed with an extensible codec model in mind, so there is no date/version announced for this," wrote Thapliyal.

A second Silverlight 2.0 beta is due in May, and this version will be very similar to the final release, according to Thapliyal. He said no details are available about the roadmap for Silverlight for mobile, or Silverlight v.Next, also known as Silverlight 3.

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Silverlight 1.0, which Microsoft launched last September, was designed to facilitate rich media scenarios in a browser, and supported a JavaScript/AJAX programming model. Silverlight 2.0 will focus on enabling development of Rich Internet Applications and will go up against Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), a multimedia runtime that lets application designers blend online and client-side functionality.

Scott Stanfield, CEO of Vertigo Software, Richmond, Calif., whose firm designed the corporate Website for the Hard Rock Cafe using Silverlight 2 Beta 1, says the project proceeded smoothly and without downtime.

"Beta 1 is solid, so we're hoping that Microsoft adds some more cool features in the coming months before releasing 2.0," Stanfield said.

According to Thapliyal, Silverlight is currently being downloaded 1.5 million times per day, and more than 60 organizations have joined Microsoft's Silverlight Partner Initiative since Silverlight 1.0 was launched last September. Thapliyal also took a swipe at Adobe's oft-repeated claims that Flash is installed on 90 percent of the world's Internet-connected PCs, noting that percentage based claims are "hard to verify".

Microsoft last August quietly launched an experimental visual search service called, which highlights the graphical capabilities of Silverlight in the context of Live Search and makes searching the Web a more visual experience.