back to article Microsoft's Silverlight 'so good' it claims Netflix tech jobs

Netflix's decision to dump Microsoft's Windows Media Player for Silverlight will result in 50 technical experts exiting the online movie specialist. The company's adopted Microsoft's browser-based media player and streaming service so customers can download and play movies on their PCs or Macs. Netflix is a trophy customer for …


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  1. MD Rackham

    Give up a job voluntarily? Now?

    There must be more to Netflix's offer for continued employment than they are saying. Maybe something like the employee has to move to Arkansas.

    Because I can't see any other reason for someone to give up a job in the current economy. Why not accept the transfer, then spend the company's time looking for something better?

    Of the tech support people I know, most have already been let go--if no one is buying anything, then they don't need help setting it up, do they?

  2. TeeCee Gold badge


    Now, the MS website is littered with this stuff and you'd have thought that, of all the people out there, they'd know how to use this better than anyone else right now.

    So, why is it so agonisingly slow (makes the Flash laden bloat sites look rapid) on a 2.6 Gig Dual core with 2 gigs of RAM and an 8meg internet connection running a fully patched and updated XP / IE7 setup? Also, why do some pages throw up an endless cascade of Silverlight error popups?

    As regards the speed, at least with Flash you get a "loading" dialogue so you can ignore the site and piss off somewhere else. Silverlight just appears to be a regular page as viewed over a dialup connection. It's absobloodylutely inexcusable as I know from experience that MS's sites have good quality pipes out into the world, so it must be Silverlight itself that's a sack of sclerotic crap here.

    Also, if it's moody under IE I hate to think what the FireFox / Opera / Safari users get.....

    Very pretty, but you can feel the vast quantities of fail lurking just beneath the surface too much IMHO.

  3. Gregor
    Paris Hilton


    If you had 75 techies, and now have 15 - how many did you lose?

    At the school I went to, it was 60.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Putting this the correct way...

    "Windows Media Player - so unbelievably, fricking terrible that using any other software, even if it is also shit, makes your life easier."

  5. Steve Hall

    Re: Slow Loading

    Can you give an example of a page that loads slowly..All is good for me on XP/Firefox 2/Silverlight 2

  6. Marvin the Martian
    Thumb Down

    And a nice `Fuck you' to our users!

    So MS switching their homepage to this stuff I can understand --- Mac users aren't going to bother with this Silverlight, but they're not going to mosey around there.

    But Netflix? This means buh-bye to the Linux users --- a small but nerdy and movie-obsessed section of the population.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Colour me cynical, but..

    I somehow get the feeling that a more accurate title would have been "50 fewer support staff needed after moving away from Windows Media Player".

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Silvershite !

    None of that Microshite is gettting anywhere near my browser thanks. If past performance is anything to go by it will be slow, DRM infested and hacked by every malware writer on the planet. It will go they way of WMV and WMA - down the toilet where it should be flushed.

    M$ before you try going off and trying to get into everyone else's markets here is something you could do first - WRITE A HALF F%^&NG DECENT OS and I might consider moving back from Linux. We do not need the bloat, DRM, OS decay etc etc.

    I wonder if M$ are paying people to use Silvershite as they do to get them to use their awful search engine.

  9. Jimmy Floyd
    Gates Horns

    Not there yet...

    If Microsoft really had confidence in Silverlight then they'd put it on the landing page of As it is, that bit of animation is all in Flash, and Silverlight is only required when you want to do interesting stuff like download direct to your Xbox.

    Thin end of the wedge marketing? I never knew Jacqui 'ID Card' Smith used to work for Bill Gates.

  10. Marc McAllister

    Re: And a nice 'F***k you' to our users!

    There is a Linux project called Moonlight, it's an open source implementation of Silverlight:

    I am also a heavy Linux user and no product of the MS/Novell unholy mating is coming anywhere near my boxes.

    Not that I ever intend to use Silvershite, even though I am by profession a MS-based web developer.. Flash is/was bad enough back in the late 90s for some truly awful websites that took ages to load on a dial-up connection.

  11. DrXym Silver badge

    Pass the moneyhat

    The amount of love that Netflix is lavishing on Silverlight isn't rational. Silverlight is yet another Flash wannabe (as is JavaFX) and in some ways significantly worse than Flash since it only supports VC-1 and other proprietary MS codecs. That's right, no H264/AVC at all. It will also never work as well on other platforms, if at all. Talk of a Mono based Moonlight implementation is a joke. Any Mac OS X implementation will also play second fiddle to the MS version.

    The only logical conclusion is Microsoft gave Netflix a hat stuffed with money to switch over to Silverlight, VC-1, and Xbox 360 exclusivity and all the press emanating forth about how wonderful it is, whitepapers, endorsements etc. should be regarded in that vein.

    A proper solution, one which would have been entirely in Netflix's interests would have been client neutral. Who cares what OS the client is running, or what front end - just authenticate, encrypt and stream the content in a format that the client can play back. Perhaps MS servers drive the backend, but why does it matter *what* the front end is written in. As Netflix is a content provider it is clearly in their interests to deliver to MORE platforms not less.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    I tried it when I went to Microsoft's website.

    "Would you like to experience the benefits of Silverlight" it said.

    "Experience it now" I clicked.

    "Silverlight Initialisation error, retry" it quirked back at me, again and again and again and again.

    "Ctrl+Alt+ Del" I pressed.

    "End task" I selected.

    Silverlight benefits experience complete.

  13. Benedict


    I thought I'd give silverlight a try at work using w2k and IE6, only to be told that silverlight does not work for this combo. So a microsoft product doesn't even work on a microsoft OS using an microsoft browser, pretty poor if you ask me.

  14. Dave


    LOL! That is exactly what I have experienced every time I have tried with any Silverlight. Though you left of two additional steps, Uninstall, and breath a sigh of relief ;)

  15. IGnatius T Foobar

    Silverlight is unholy

    Microsoft is positioning Silverlight as a Flash killer, but let's be realistic here: Microsoft wasn't interested in killing Flash until Adobe started using it as a video delivery platform. They got streaming video nailed down so much better than everyone else, that the whole world switched to it practically overnight. No weird media players to download, no "select which player you have" nonsense on web sites, just "oh, this is in Flash, you already have Flash, click to see it." Silverlight may have a mini-platform wrapped around it but it's really just a stealth delivery system for Windows Media Player ... and all of the ugly copy protection (or DRM as they call it) that comes with it.

  16. Thomas

    I installed Silverlight on my Mac...

    ... it's really not so bad. Runs without any hassle, does what it is meant to, albeit nothing obvious that Flash doesn't already do for about a million more sites.

    Any thoughts on whether we've had some sort of watershed with the effect that Microsoft's traditional practice of muscling into new markets by doing nothing more than mimicking the leading product is no longer serviceable because of the degree of anti-Microsoft feeling?

  17. Al Jones

    NetFlix is the customer, you aren't

    Netflix is using Silverlight because it solves their problems. Apparently no one else is, because Flash is good enough. Even NetFlix use Flash on their front page.

    (My only relationship with NetFlix is as a victim of the pop-under NetFlix ads that I come across from time to time. I'd consider using NetFlix if I could get it to work with my Linksys DMA2100 Media Centre Extender, though).

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  19. Stephen Sherry

    And when the shizzy hits the fan?

    They'll be offline like everyone else nowadays that don't need high tech expertise :P

    All levels of IT and tech will be in obscurity because there will be no one left that can actually say WHY things are going wrong, all they can do now is just say, "the system is down and we're looking into it."

    But I'm not bitter, not like I'm worth more than $10 an hour since I merely have a degree and over a decade of hands on experience, and the basic history of IT over those years in my back pocket. We're being managed out of existence by people who don't have a clue how to manage; housing, banking, IT, support, auto manufacturing. Is the end just to make us all accept we really ARE just peasants with the illusion that we are easily replaceable because that's what the people in charge wish the world to be? Happy to burst their bubble, but that's about as likely as using the banks bailout to give everyone $900,000 which would have literally taken the US out of its slump for at least 20 years. But apparently money has no value if it is in the peasant's hands, for some insane reason (manager greed? Class elitists needing to feel elite and not average?).

    But I digress, we're doomed unless some people with skills get together and make their own company based on sense and purpose. If they do, I'll join! :)

  20. Lager And Crisps
    Jobs Horns

    ...never seen MS do this before!!!

    Replace one of their own technologies (after getting others to spend time and money) with another. Microsoft are always pulling the plug, even on their own Frankenstein creations.

    As another poster has already said, Microsoft don't want Silverlight working on older versions of their own software. How long before Silverlight too is phased out for the next big thing.

    Microsoft PAY companies to use their software either directly or indirectly. Incentives...? Why not call it what it realy is, BRIBERY! How much is Netflix getting so Microsoft can tout their crapware in advertising campaigns?

  21. Grant
    Gates Horns

    Netflix promoting silverlight for a reason...

    Just happens that the NetFlix CEO gets nice (presumably well paid) cushy job by Microsoft;

    and suddenly they find (unlike others) that Silverlight is the best thing since sliced bread. Coincidence?

    Or just Microsoft doing what they do; trying to buy opinion.

    The question that NetFlix shareholders should ask, is why use a new & immature technology that will turn away at least some customers (80%+ of their customers don't have SL installed when they hit the site), because their CEO happens to be in the pay of MS?

    And the question that I want to know, is if they had replaced Windows Media Player grief with VLC, Flash or other technology, how much better could they have done? I bet they get plenty of 'I don't have SL installed, how can I see the movie on my (Win2k? etc) machine?" support calls

    - and i don't have SL installed on my machine - FF 3.1b2 running Vista x64 despite being a developer..

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