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Silverlight moves in for the kill … will it succeed?

The Microsoft site is in the process of being revamped to require the use of Silverlight, according to a blog post at The NeoSmart Files. ZDNet claims that the NeoSmart blog post isn't true. Maybe now that NeoSmart gave Microsof the idea, it will do such a thing, given that the Microsoft.com site is one of the most visited sites on the

a preview of Microsoft's Download site, updated to support Silverlight, was released about a month ago.

Internet and this would be a sure-fire way to get loads of people to download Silverlight. What is certain is that

However, Microsoft has made other strides for Silverlight, too - such as last month's first-ever free fully streamed movie. The picture is starting to show that Silverlight could become a serious contender in the Web development world. From December 19 through 31, Blockbuster streamed the full-length movie JACKASS 2.5 for free using Silverlight and Microsoft's content distribution network partner, Limelight Networks.

Microsoft also recently announced that Silverlight 2.0 will ship in Q1 2008, with a whole list of new features such as better controls for the User Interface and improved layout tools.

Microsoft's game with Silverlight is the same that they've played with everything else - they have the means to build a huge user base. Build that and the developers will come - at least the ones that are more interested in business than they are in IT religion.

But the Linux faithful seem to be unconvinced and uninterested in Silverlight both on principal and because Sliverlight currently requires Mono in order to run on Linux. Mono is a software project sponsored by Novell for making .Net software run on Linux. The version of Silverlight that includes Mono is called Moonlight and the 1.0 version of Moonlight is due out in mid 2008.

Are you following so far? That's Jackass 2.5 streamed on Silverlight 1.0 over the Limelight Network with betas of Silverlight 2.0 out soon and Moonlight 1.0 out later. In the mix will be the IE 8 beta, expected to be released by mid 2008, which Microsoft says has already passed the Acid2 browser compatibility test. (IE 7's inability to pass the Acid2 test was one of the criticisms hurled at it by Opera Software when it filed an antitrust suit against Microsoft in December.)

It won't be a surprise if IE 8 ships with support for Silverlight (and, perhaps, if the European Commission isn't looking, without support for Flash).

How much will Silverlight matter to your company's Web development efforts? Perhaps a lot.

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