There is widespread speculation that the latest version of Microsoft’s browser plug-in Silverlight 5 will be the last version of the media platform. Microsoft has not yet confirmed this speculation but there are sources which lend some credibility to the rumor. According to ZDNet’s Mary-Jo Foley, her sources at Microsoft revealed that there might not be any service packs for the latest Silverlight and also nothing is clear about the period for which Microsoft intends to support Silverlight 5. The Silverlight 5 package is scheduled to be released at the end of this month. Adobe had also recently announced that they would not be developing flash player for mobile devices.
The previous version Silverlight 4 supported Windows and Mac OS and also the Chrome & Safari browsers. However it has also been revealed that the Silverlight 5 will only run on IE and does not have support for other platforms and browsers. Silverlight was earlier released as a cross platform runtime solution but now is currently being employed by Microsoft as a tool to develop smartphone, rich media applications. The Metro style apps shown in the Windows 8 Developer Preview utilize some of the principles of Silverlight package.
Microsoft officials have not divulged any details about the future of the Silverlight package after the release of the new version at November end. A spokesperson said that they had currently nothing to share regarding the timing, support and future of the Silverlight series. However Microsoft has been reassigning other work to the developers who were associated with the Silverlight project which confirms the fact that this indeed might be the last Silverlight.
Last month, Scott Guthrie had revealed in a Webcast that Microsoft would be shipping Silverlight on other device which has led people to assume that the Xbox 360 might employ Silverlight features. He was the head of the Silverlight development team and is now working on Windows cloud based OS the Windows Azure. He did not reveal anything about future Silverlight releases probably because Microsoft recently decided to lockdown information on its future plans. He added that they are trying to focus on using XAML to differentiate themselves from other competitors.
Microsoft Regional Director, Andrew Burst said that the new Metro-style Windows 8 apps were developed using XAML along with the principles of Silverlight and a streamlined .NET CLR profile. These XAML programming skills can also be used to develop apps for Windows Phone and the Xbox.