Microsoft's Muglia reconfirms HTML is Microsoft's cross-platform play

Microsoft has posted an update on the future of Silverlight which confirms the shift in the company's strategy about which I blogged last week.

After I published a blog post last week about Microsoft's shift in its Silverlight strategy (based on an interview I did at the Professional Developers Conference with Server and Tools President Bob Muglia), there were a lot of concerned and angry Silverlight developers and customers.

Many of these unhappy campers were reacting not so much to my post, but to subsequent reinterpretations which claimed Silverlight was dead (something I never wrote and Muglia never said).

In a November 1 post to the Silverlight Team Blog, Muglia attempted to calm the storm.

Muglia said the interview where he spoke about Silverlight at the PDC was "accurately reported." In the new post, he reconfirmed that Microsoft is working on the next release of Silverlight (which will be cross-platform) and that Silverlight will continue to be important to developers in the Windows Phone and Windows markets.

Muglia restated that Silverlight is a good development platform for media and enterprise applications. "Silverlight provides a rich UI framework that enables smooth animations and lends itself very well to touch input and embedded devices," he noted (meaning, in this case Windows Phones and embedded devices, not slates/tablets).

Muglia also said, as I blogged last week, that Microsoft no longer considers Silverlight as the best way to install a single runtime on all devices. For that, Microsoft is planning to rely on HTML. From today's post:

"Lastly, there has been massive growth in the breadth and diversity of devices made by a wide variety of vendors providing both open and closed systems. When we started Silverlight, the number of unique/different Internet-connected devices in the world was relatively small, and our goal was to provide the most consistent, richest experience across those devices. But the world has changed. As a result, getting a single runtime implementation installed on every potential device is practically impossible. We think HTML will provide the broadest, cross-platform reach across all these devices. At Microsoft, we’re committed to building the world’s best implementation of HTML 5 for devices running Windows, and at the PDC, we showed the great progress we’re making on this with IE 9."

What does this mean to folks who were betting on Silverlight as Microsoft's Web design/development platform? That's not quite as clear.

Will Microsoft be spending energy to port Silverlight to new platforms like Android, as was originally promised and assumed? Will Silverlight ever be available on Apple's iOS? Will Microsoft try to do what Adobe is and somehow provide a Silverlight-to-HTML conversion tool? Will Microsoft be introducing any new development tools specifically for HTML and if so, when? No word on any of these questions (so far).

What other questions about Silverlight's future do you still have after reading Muglia's update today?


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