Microsoft is discontinuing its free Silverlight Streaming service and replacing it with a paid, Azure-hosted service before the end of calendar 2009.
Microsoft is confirming the report I saw on LiveSide.Net from October 18, which is based on a blog post from Microsoft's Silverlight Streaming team. Silverlight Streaming is a Windows Live beta service that supports hosted audio/video content. Microsoft officials described the offering as a companion service for Silverlight for delivering and scaling rich media.
The Softies are saying Silverlight Streaming will be discontinued at some time in the future, with no specific timeframe offered.
"A new Windows Azure-based hosting and delivery service will be launched by the end of 2009, though this is not a direct replacement for Silverlight Streaming and will have costs associated with its use," according to the Silverlight Streaming team.
Microsoft officials stressed that Silverlight Streaming is not the same as Smooth Streaming, "which is alive and well" and just released on October 8.
Microsoft is expected to remove officially the beta tag from Azure the first day of the Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles on November 16. It's not clear whether company officials will have more to say about the Silverlight Streaming replacement at that time.