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Microsoft uses Silverlight to revamp Download Center

Promotes own technology on popular website

Microsoft is using Silverlight to enhance its popular Download Center website. Microsoft hopes the move will promote the adoption of its Silverlight technology.

The company is beta-testing a new version of its Microsoft Download Center website using the technology, a browser plug-in and development runtime for adding multimedia and high-definition (HD) video to web-based applications.

A visit to the Microsoft Download Center yesterday opened a page inviting users to test the new site, which Microsoft said is being enhanced by Silverlight.

"We're changing!" the invitation said.

"Get a sneak peak at the new designs we're testing for the Download Center home page and category pages. We're using Microsoft Silverlight technology to spruce up the site and make it easier to discover and download Microsoft software."

Microsoft also noted on the invitation that the download of Silverlight is required to participate in the beta. Download Center is a popular Microsoft site where users can download software updates over the web, as well as getting information about new software downloads the company is offering.

Microsoft unveiled Silverlight last year to compete with Adobe's Flash multimedia runtime and player; however, Microsoft has optimised Silverlight for HD video content in particular as a way to differentiate its technology from Flash.

In March at its Microsoft MIX conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft said Silverlight was logging about 1.5 million downloads per day. However, those downloads include ones spurred by Microsoft running Silverlight on its own websites.

This year Microsoft began to use Silverlight more heavily across its website, and the company even required its use for some keynote presentations it has shown via webcast. For example, downloading Silverlight was required to view a keynote speech by Microsoft Chairman and CEO Steve Ballmer at the launch of Windows Server 2008 in Los Angeles in February.

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