Is there a silver lining in Silverlight?
The first version of Silverlight was Microsoft's answer to the Adobe's extremely popular Flash Player. Silverlight (like flash) allows users access to more interactivity and a 'richer online experience' through the use of animation, video and sound. With an install rate of around 98%, the vast majority of users on the Internet are able to view flash content.
So what makes Silverlight so different to flash? Really not a lot, Adobe is miles ahead in relation to user acceptance (from both an end user and web designer sense), however Microsoft is as usual throwing a lot of money at Silverlight.
Enter stage left Silverlight 2.0. Microsoft has made it a lot easier to develop interactive online applications using existing web developer tools. Traditional programmers that struggled to use flash to develop applications can now use their existing tools that they are already familiar with.
The biggest issue that faces developers is that they may have created a great online application, but if the user hasn't installed Silverlight, they won''t be able to see it or use it. Also users who have not heard of Silverlight before may be wary of installing software they have not heard of.
Overall I think Silverlight will see more uptake in the intranet style application rather then in the wider landscape of the web. Especially when it comes to displaying rich media (such as video and audio). In the end developers are going to choose flash (that nearly everyone has), over Silverlight (that less people have) to do the same job.