Silverlight Adoption – A Few Numbers

I’ve had the same question asked a few times recently about the rate of Silverlight adoption so I thought I’d try and give some hard and fast figures as well as point to some useful references in case anyone comes here looking for information after our recent “Rich Clients” events.

From the October 08 launch to January 09 Silverlight 2 had been downloaded and installed on more than 300 million machines and as of January 09 more than 1 in 4 computers has Silverlight installed. Remember, this is only 4 months after the release of Silverlight 2. Expect to hear more information about Silverlight adoption at MIX from 18th-20th March.

ScottGu has a great post on Silverlight 2 and an early look at Silverlight 3 from November which talked a bit about adoption. Tim Sneath wrote an excellent response to Adobe’s commentary on Silverlight which also includes some adoption numbers.

On top of that, we have great examples of Silverlight being chosen for hugely important scenarios eg:

  • I always mention but can never remember the details so here goes; during the 17 days of the 2008 Olympics Games in Beijing, received more than 50 million unique visitors, resulting in 1.3 billion page views, 70 million video streams and 600 million minutes of video were watched, increasing the average time on the site (from 3mins to 27mins)
  • The Presidential Inaugural Committee chose Silverlight to enable live and on-demand video streaming of the official inauguration ceremony of President Obama
  • BSkyB enabled their Sky Player online TV service with Silverlight DRM powered by PlayReady
  • ITV have an enhanced Silverlight 2 media player

Silverlight has created a huge amount of buzz and interest since it was first announced. I don’t see that level of interest dropping off at all. If anything, it’s accelerating. Onwards and upwards…

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Comments (9)
  1. Leroy Walker says:

    My interest has certainly dropped off. Reading text in Silverlight is unbearable. Game over.

    Tried programming a Mesh-Enabled Web Application? You can’t even create custom data fields that you can query. You have to search each row (DataFeed) in order to query custom data … LOL!

  2. MikeO [MSFT] says:

    Silverlight wont solve world hunger either Leroy. Sure there are almost certainly better choices for documents (if that’s what you mean by "reading text"), WPF has superb document support or even HTML which is after all document oriented. Nobody ever said you should be building everything in Silverlight.

    As to MEWAs, this is a technology in an early preview form – not even at a beta stage – which has some incredible capabilities. If it doesn’t do what you want in the way you want it to, there are plenty of other choices for handling and querying data in Silverlight.

    My kettle’s not so great at making toast, that’s why I have a toaster. I don’t take the kettle back to the shop.


  3. IanBlackburn says:

    Hi Mike,

    Have you seen – it’s a useful indicator of ria technologies.  Silverlight is steadily growing according to that.

    I am using those stats for my bbits site and interestingly am now seeing more people visiting with Silverlight 2 installed than have Flash/Flex 10 installed (though Flash/Flex 9/10 combined would still win)

    The SL3 announcements will also I believe, start to drive much more use of Silverlight for business UI. Details on the Mix09 sessions on SL3 are tempting:  

  4. MikeO [MSFT] says:

    Hi Ian. No, I hadn’t seen – interesting stuff indeed. It’s a pity there isn’t a historical view. I agree, SL3 is only going to open up further opportunities and accelerate adoption. Roll on Mix09! Mike

  5. Ian Ringrose says:

    We need to know if it is safe to make a “line of business” application depend on Silverlight.  The application is sold to a lot of large companies that then installs it on their internal servers.  What we cannot find out is if all their IT departments will agree to Silverlight being on their client PCs by the time we ship the application.  We do not sell to the IT department, but to department that does not have match power in most of our customer’s companies.

    We can’t just ask the customers as most of them don’t even know what Silverlight is and given a choose at least some of the IT people will say NO, (just to save work) if they thought they could getaway with it.

    (We still have some customers that will not upgrade from SQL Server 2000, as they consider it too match risk, IE6 is still very match the norm in our customer base)

    Therefore Home PC Silverlight adoption numbers are not mach use to us.  What we need to know is when/if IT admin people will consider Silverlight to be as  normal as having a Virus Cheker.

  6. IanBlackburn says:

    Hi Ian Ringrose,

    In my experience with clients (mostly local authority) they have no particular concern with installing Silverlight, rather it is just getting it put into a build, and rolling it out.

    However the deployment is not particulatly helped because, although there is a corporate deployment guide that was produced by Dave Tesar ( it is sadly out-of-date and only relates to v1.  

    I have tried with little success to see if there is a guide for version 2 of Silverlight, and apparently it is Dave Tesar who is producing that, but there is nothing I have seen as yet.  Having templates for group policies and help in deployment issues would certainly help for corporate adoption, and I am not entirely sure why this seems to be taking so long to arrive.  Mike do you have any insight on this? (I emailed and had a response from Tim Sneath in Nov 08, who had spoken to Dave Tesar, but have not seen the guide yet – though it is certainly possible I may have missed that annoucement)



  7. MikeO [MSFT] says:

    IanR – I understand the desire for you to have those numbers but they’re very difficult for us to get. That said, consumer adoption cns be a very a strong force behind the firewall.

    IanB – No I’m afraid I don’t have any more insight on an updated enterprise deployment guide. I did a quick search on the internal SL alias but couldn’t find anything. I think Tim’s probably our best bet as Dave’s in the same part of the org. I’ll ping him a mail.

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