Microsoft has already announced that its new Microsoft Edge web browser in Windows 10 will not be using many of the features that were a part of its old Internet Explorer browsers. That includes support for ActiveX-based plug-in, VBScript, conditional comments, VML, browser helper objects, document modes, and IE 8 quirks mode.
Now, the growth of HTML-5 web media playback has made Microsoft dump Silverlight in the Edge Browser of the much-awaited Windows 10, as confirmed by it in a blog post.
[HTML5-based streaming] represents the most broadly interoperable solution across browsers, platforms, content, and devices going forward
the blog post said.
“Support for ActiveX has been discontinued in Microsoft Edge, and that includes removing support for Silverlight. The reasons for this … include the emergence of viable and secure media solutions based on HTML5 extensions.”
Edge will be Microsoft’s default browser for Windows 10 (which, by the way, is constantly getting build updates) across all platforms, with IE11 on PCs and tablets for accessing legacy websites. It was renamed from Project Spartan in April this year.
Silverlight was first introduced in 2007 as an alternative Adobe’s Flash player for web-based media. It was most famously used by Netflix(switched to HTML5 in 2013) for its desktop streaming video service. The last major release was Silverlight 5 in 2011 and Microsoft has not indicated plans to release a major new version.
Most sites have now abandoned Silverlight, with Netflix too transitioning its web player to HTML5. The software giant has maintained that it encourages companies that are using Silverlight for media to begin the transition to DASH/MSE/CENC/EME based designs and to follow a single, DRM-interoperable encoding work flow enabled by CENC.
By abandoning Silverlight, Microsoft continues to move on its policy of adapating to current technology trends, rather than sticking on to its own, old-grade software. These changes may not be visible to regular users directly, but will make a significant difference in the long term. Edge, if delivered as promised, would definitely come out to be a modernized, and fast browser that will be readily lapped up by developers. It serves as Microsoft’s manner to restore its reputation based on browser innovation.