Same day, Microsoft came out and made a victory-over-Adobe-Flash statement saying that Nokia and its Symbian OS-based phones and Internet tablets are going to embed its Silverlight plug-in, Microsoft’s Flash-competitive cross-browser/cross-platform approach to delivering rich media and web applications.
And with Steve Jobs slamming Flash publicly at the Apple shareholders meeting while the sound of the Nokia-Microsoft alliance was still ringing in people’s ears, one can hardly blame the pundits for speculating that iPhone will skip down the Silverlight path too.
Terms of the Microsoft-Nokia deal weren’t disclosed of course but Adobe hasn’t had much luck with manufacturers or carriers since it started asking a per-phone license fee for the Flash plug-in.
The next day, Microsoft made its mobile-supporting Silverlight 2 beta available for download. The beta includes new features like Deep Zoom, some 40 new controls and a .NET base class library of functionality.
DoubleClick, the pending Google acquisition, has got a Silverlight 2 SDK for in-stream advertising. Content publishers that deliver video content can use it in a Silverlight environment to target, serve, forecast and report on video-based advertising.
Microsoft’s also cut a strategic Silverlight alliance with Move Networks, which provides live and on-demand “long-form” video content like TV episodes, news and sports programming. It will use Silverlight to deliver interactive rich media navigation and integrated advertising on top of its programming. Move’s current customers include ABC, Fox Broadcasting and ESPN.
Along with Silverlight, which Microsoft says already averages 1.5 million downloads a day, it also trotted out the first public beta of Internet Explorer 8 hedging the announcement with words that sound odd in Microsoft’s mouth, words like “improved standards support” and “increased interoperability.”
IE8 is supposed to offer web site designers greater predictability and fully support Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) 2.1 when it RTMs. Microsoft says the beta includes tools to debug HTML, CSS and scripts in a visual environment and adds widgetry called Activities and WebSlices that it says will let developers “reach beyond the page and introduce new ways for users to stay connected to the content and services of their choice.
Microsoft also pushed out the Expression Studio 2 beta that’s supposed to work seamlessly with Visual Studio to create a better user experience. Its Expression Web piece supports PHP and its Expression Web, Expression Blend, Expression Media Encoder and Expression Design pieces support Silverlight.
Microsoft announced an Expression Blend 2.5 preview and introduced an Expression Professional subscription that includes the full suite and a number of other programs.
Nokia expects to make Silverlight available to S60 developers later this year. After that sometime it’ll add Series 40 handsets and its web tablets.