back to article Microsoft to extend Silverlight for Mac?

HTML 5 in Internet Explorer may mean Microsoft is rejoined the league of civilized nations on browsers, but another Microsoft technology remains under lock and key more firmly than ever. Microsoft's Silverlight media player has, with version 4 due next month, gone from being closed source but able to work on other platforms - …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's see..

    MS support Mac for a couple of years until the platform gains enough market share, then suddenly cut support and blame Apple.

    Yup, been there before. Fool me twice...

    1. Wila

      re. let's see

      You mean like microsoft's current silverlight support on Mac OS X if you happen to use PowerPC? Which stopped at the 1.0 implementation. So microsoft can claim it is supported, but unfortunately, most sites using s'light will demand the the latest version..

      1. OffBeatMammal

        PowerPC is dead

        Apple, Adobe etc no longer support it.

        Don't bitch at Microsoft for following the crowd on that decision

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Cross Platform Silverlight?

    "Ooh, floor-pie!"

    ~Homer Simpson

  3. Andrew Williams


    That Apple is thought of as a 2nd class citizen. Ah well, it has to be better than Moonlight which will always be a 3rd class citizen perpetually scrambling to be at best 2 versions behind, and unabale to fully implement.

    At least it seems that Apple doesn't care, while the Moonlight crowd are just masochists.

    1. Quxy
      Gates Horns

      Why should anyone care?

      IMO Apple's got the right response to Silverlight. I'm not sure why anyone in Linux-land cares either, except that you can find every imaginable fetish there.

      Yeah, Silverlight is cool, but if Microsoft had ever intended it to be anything other than a tool for long-range Windows lock-in, they would have introduced it in a fundamentally different way (open standard, open source, whatever).

  4. Anonymous Coward

    silverlight and flash...

    get the same response from me.

    DO. NOT. WANT.

    1. Goat Jam
      Gates Horns

      MS business model in a nutshell

      "gone from being closed source but able to work on other platforms [sic] - the Mac - to being increasingly tied to Windows."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Gates Horns

      RE: silverlight and flash...

      Exactly why I don't care whether I can install either of them on my Mac..!

      Flash used to be installed (as was an add-on that allowed me to only have to view the flash I'd clicked on). After a few crashes, I now no longer click on anything.

      As for Silverlight... Silverwhat? I've yet to visit a website that has told me I need it for anything! However, knowing MS and their frequenty security lapses, I'm unlikely to install it anyway.

    3. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Gates Horns

      Let's end this before it gets too far...

      boycott this rubbish. Signed and agreed.

    4. Dan 10

      From you maybe...

      I'm curious to know whether, given sufficient stability and security, jobs would allow one of these new silverlight 'use cases' to be the ipad/iPhone.

  5. jbravo

    Yay, Another ActiveX!

    So, Microsoft is going back to its old habits and old tactics. So they decided that they need to create a new gigantic security hole in their browser and they hope do so on the Mac too.


    I really hope they don't follow through with feature/bug parity on the Mac version.

    In any case, I won't ever allow silverlight to get installed on any of my macs or company's macs.

    1. RichyS
      Thumb Up


      Letting Silverlight have access to the USB ports and the like on my Mac fills me with dread.

      Not that I have Silverlight installed. Or see any need for it. IIRC the only site I've seen that uses (or did use) Silverlight was Channel 4's 4OD service; and I've never really felt the need enough to want another Flash-u-like to be installed on my computer.

  6. Francis Vaughan

    Long game

    This provides a clue as to one way that MS see moving beyond the PC centric market. Not everyone at MS is a total fool, and they realise that the business model of lock in with Windows on x86 isn't taking them anywhere anymore. But a new operating model based upon Sliverlight might. Remember it is Office that makes them the big money. A widely deployed Silverlight is a way of providing a nice ready plaform to continue to push Office out. The biggest threat to MS (and Intel) is probably Linux on ARM. If they get the Silverlight platform (via Moonlight) out onto that, MS may dodge that bullet to some extent. Of couse if it doesn't pan out, or some idiot middle manager decides it is was a bad idea, they can, and would drop support again. But it is a play that may make a lot of sense in the long term.

  7. Sentient

    they'd better

    Apples Market share is growing and Silverlight is the only official option for .NET on a Mac.

  8. Stu J

    What's the problem?

    So you can write apps in Silverlight where, say, 90% of the functionality is available on both Mac and Windows, and the extra 10% (e.g. MS Office integration) is only available on Windows.

    If your audience is cross-platform, then you cover all your "must have" functions using cross-platform functionality. If you can then add extra "nice to have" functions which aren't cross-platform (and which non-Windows platforms will just ignore) then why not?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Because then it no longer can be termed as cross-platform! What are you going to label it as? 90% cross-platform?

      Why do you feel the need to protect Microsoft in what they are doing? This is what they tend to do. They implement something and claim it is cross platform and then slowly add things that are Windows only in a bid to make that platform appear more superior than the rest! Why does it need to integrate MS Office? Why can they just not integrate all Office type programs! Because they don't make money from things like OpenOffice!

      1. Al Jones

        Careful, you're getting spittle on the screen

        Microsoft isn't extending Silverlight to work with Microsoft Office, it's extending it to work with COM. COM will allow Silverlight to interact with any other application that presents a COM interface.

        OpenOffice presents itself to COM, so you can write a Silverlight application to interact with OpenOffice.

        I don't suppose ElReg could include this sort of basic information in the original article, for the benefit of the cretins who don't actually understand the technology they feel compelled to comment on?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any sightings of Silverlight in the wild?

    Instead of "We are waiting for customers to give us some use cases" what he meant to say was "We are waiting for customers". Has anyone seen Silverlight used in the wild for anything? Other than a few obviously arranged and short term streaming video things?

    1. Ian Entwistle


      right pain if I want to watch Sky sports over t'interweb on my Linux box as Moonlight doesn't work

      1. OffBeatMammal

        have you tried Moonlight3 preview?

        I used that for the Vancouver Olympics and it worked pretty well - seems to be on a par with SL3 for most things

  10. Richard Cartledge


    A bit like announcing Swine scabies has crossed the species barrier to humans, but doesn't affect the tail or snout in humans..

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Cross Platform Silverlight?

    What is your problem with MS utilising its own technology on PCs within Silverlight 4?

    I not that some console games which run on multiple consoles, may make us of Wii-only functionality when played on a Wii, but which is not available on other consoles. Who complains about this?

  12. Mark Randall

    COM Bomb

    As a programmer, I hate COM in ways that are not suitable for publishing. But it is perfectly sensible to include it in SIlverlight, just as they included it in PHP.

    You wouldn't stop people from using sounds in Silverlight just because some people don't have speakers, if people want to make offline silverlight apps capable of leveraging pretty much the whole OS then why not let them. If Mac was to develop a single unified model for all of their OS features I'm sure MS would include that to - as it's in their best interests.

    So yeah, let them use it... why complain about a helpful feature. Are the Mac people really going to complain that they can't use a SL component built on COM to control their IIS server, even though they don't have the COM components to control and IIS server? Etc.

  13. sleepy

    Don't touch, children.

    It's just nasty Mr Microsoft using sweeties to tempt you back to his house and never let you out. Say no, run away, and tell mummy when it happens.

  14. BillG

    What are Microsoft's Intentions?

    Flash sucks - even Apple admits that. Silverlight is stable and superior to Flash but - what is Microsoft thinking? Last test I ran this month came up only 45% of my website visitors have Silverlight installed, and the most popular install is Version 2.

    Is Microsoft serious about Silverlight or not?

  15. Tom Chiverton 1


    So silverlight is cross platform, except when it isn't ? Geez, been there, do not want to go again.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Crystal Ball Time

    I think we're seeing another dimension to the Adobe/Apple row playing out here. Silverlight on iPad and iPhone? Anyone?

  17. DrXym Silver badge

    Gosh, didn't see this coming

    Microsoft may have been eating humble pie recently, but at the end of the day old habits die hard. Anything developed by Microsoft is a target moving so fast that Mono / Moonlight will NEVER catch up. Microsoft know it which is probably why they don't care that Mono exists. By the time Moonlight hits 3-ish status, Silverlight 4 is out and so on.

    Microsoft might also profess platform agnosticism but the reality is that they want to sell Windows and they want people locked into it. COM automation is almost as bad as unmanaged DLL calls for rendering code non-crossplatform, so it's right to be concerned. It's probably the thin end of the wedge and I would not be surprised if Silverlight will grow even more dependencies to MS tech.

  18. Mark Rendle
    Dead Vulture

    Microsoft FUD Ate My Hamster!!!

    Hey, you know another cross-platform framework or language that supports COM when running on Windows?

    ALL OF THEM. Even Java.

    No, you're right, it's much more fun spouting malicious bullshit. Hey, here's some: did you know that the Silverlight implementation on this new Windows Phone 7 Series (which is TOTALLY closed-source, BTW; I bet it won't run on iPhones) includes support for interacting with phone features that PCs don't even have!!! So much for cross-platform. FAIL!!! M$ LOLZ.

    Seriously, I remember when this used to be a tech site, instead of an unfiltered sewer of idiotic copy elbow-typed by Daily Mail rejects.

    1. DrXym Silver badge


      Please tell me how with standard Java APIs I might invoke some random COM or OLE Automation object from Java? The answer is you can't. Yes someone could go to the effort of invoking COM from JNI or buying a tool which does something but that is not the same thing at all.

      Slapping platform specific functionality into an allegedly cross platform runtime is simply an attempt to undermine other operating systems.

  19. JP19


    If you think Silverlight is a media player then you've missed the point by such a wide margin that the rest of your article becomes a little pointless.

    You've then gone and picked on about the 2% of functionality of Silverlight that _isn't_ cross platforn. I'd suggest a better view might come from Miguel de Icaza of Mono - go see what he says about Silverlight and cross platform as he might have slightly more of a clue than the author here.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      2% is an underestimation

      Silverlight allows for all kinds of rich client applications, many of which have no need for video at all. However it's clear that one of the attractions of Silverlight is the DRM media player aspect. This is going to be used disproportionately and we can see from the number of flagship sites that this is exactly how it will is being used - ITV player, Netflix and so on.

      I think if you take away the DRM media player aspect, that you're left with something which is largely interchangeable with Flash/Flex. I think if I were choosing between the two that I would probably favour Flex for its ubquity. Silverlight is superior in many respects, such as multi-threading but I don't think these advantages are compelling enough to switch, especially when it isn't ubiquitous and it's cross-platform support is iffy and likely to get worse.

  20. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Don't even mention Moonlight.

    Don't even mention Moonlight as though it is a viable version of Silverlight. It's not! Last I tried it, it wouldn't display a demo as simple as a wireframe cube! Many pages just say "You must install Silverlight!!!" even with Moonlight installed. It has no video codec support -- either builtin or ffmpeg support -- and this is apparently intentional and by design! It is absolutely useless! It is just enough so Microsoft can *pretend* they have Silverlight for other platforms while they really don't, and people wiill believe it until they ever try to use it.

  21. Bilgepipe
    Gates Horns


    "Microsoft's Silverlight media player has, with version 4 due next month, gone from being closed source but able to work on other platforms - the Mac - to being increasingly tied to Windows."

    Wow, no-one saw that coming. And now we get fed another line making us think Microsoft really are cross-platform, and probably to keep the regulators at bay, while all the while trying Silverlight more and more into Windows.

    Plus ça change...

  22. Martin Owens

    Migel's DRM

    I actually put to Migel some time ago that many of my home desktop users had no use for moonlight other than to watch Netflix watch again, which required PlayForSure DRM... which is never going to be licensed to Moonlight. The problem is that there is no will in the moonlight camp to reverse engineer the drm and give Microsoft the finger for fear of souring their "special relationship"

    If PlayForSure and Silverlight didn't work on Mac (which is does) Netflix would get such an earache from their customers that they'd be bound to move to some other tech.


  23. brudinie

    Yawwwn- silverwhat now?

    Silverwhat? Never seen it on a useful website, never needed to use it, never will use it, never will bother developing for it.

    By 2014 %50 of all browsing will be done on mobile phones.

    At least 50% of these phones will be running linux or bsd.

    This means that Silverlight is doomed and Microsoft know it - that's why they are finally taking HTML5 seriously.

  24. Chris Pearson
    Gates Halo

    silverlight is not for the internet

    I really can't see silverlight stealing much of flashes market share.

    Where it can make great inroads is in the corporate intranet. You already have .NET devs working on other stuff and the shift to silverlight isn't that huge really. These corporate shops will also probably be mostly windows ones so COM integration is a genuinely useful feature for automation.

    Besides COM only works OOB anyway so you have to have already jumped through the install to local machine hoop on the security side of things.

  25. cmaurand


    And it will be the deathknell for Silverlight. Microsoft's embrace and extend again? Flash runs the same on all platforms that support it.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020