How Did We Come Up With Silverlight?

I'm sure some readers will be interested in the decision making process that we went through to arrive at the name of Silverlight for our new web runtime platform. It was a tough choice; we know that WPF/E was much loved by the community and that acronyms can be both inspiring and evocative, but we really wanted to try something radical and different.

We had some really great alternative choices that we considered before settling on Silverlight, and I thought now would be a perfect time to share them. I hope that after you see the other brand names we considered, you'll be happy with our final choice. So here goes... drum roll, please; here are the top 10 names we rejected before settling on Silverlight:

10. GrayLuminosity (close, but there was just something not quite right about it)
9. AJAX - Asynchronous JavaScript And XAML (turns out that acronym was already taken)
8. David (Bill Gates vetoed that one himself)
7. non-Windows Presentation Foundation
6. Windows Technology Foundation (usually shortened to WTF, of course)
5. MicroMedia Player (a lightweight web alternative to Media Player)
4. Microsoft Light New User Experience (shortened to LINUX)
3. Microsoft 2.0 (big 800lb gorilla? Us? No, we’re your friendly neighborhood Web 2.0 startup)
2. Redlight (“Roxanne… …you don’t have to wear that dress tonight…”)
1. Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation Live Rich Client ActiveX Player R2 Ultimate Edition Service Pack 1 CTP (or WPFLRCAPR2UESP1CTP for short)

I'm immensely grateful to Steve, Laurence, Jaime and others who were part of the brainstorming team - your contributions helped shape the product into its current form!

Comments (37)
  1. drawkbox says:

    Why not LiquidMotion? hehe  

  2. Anonymous says:

    Je mag aannemen dat het de meesten niet is ontgaan dat WPF/e, Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere een…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Classic! I can’t believe you didn’t use WPFLRCAPR2UESP1CTP though!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Tim Sneath has a great peice on humour on how we came up with the name silverlight. Check it out . Great

  5. Garry Trinder says:

    Don’t tell me that Timed Interleaved Media Service (TIMS) didn’t make that ten…

  6. Garry Trinder says:

    P.S. According to slashdot in a couple of days, it’ll be rechristened $ilverlight 😀

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’m glad you didn’t name it Silverflash .. that would be too obvious .. 🙂

    Anyway, nice piece 🙂

  8. Anonymous says:

    How about:

    ITI – innovation through immitation

  9. Anonymous says:

    It’s obvious how you came up with it. Silverlight. Silver-light. That would be one way you could describe a flash, right? Flash? Adobe Flash? The "Flash Killer"

    Couldn’t have taken more than two minutes to come up with the name Silverlight.

  10. Wayne2K says:

    I came here from JoS ( but I’ll just reiterate my comment from there:

    Sparkle would’ve been better.

    The name Silverlight sounds like a fake word. Just compare it with some really successful product names: Photoshop, Windows, Office, Google, AutoCAD. Those names invoke some meaning.

    I admit that Sparkle is a little too close to "Flash" and they’re probably trying to avoid that, but c’mon…it is going to be competing with Flash.

    Let’s see if I can think of one on my own (Sparkle was the code-name for Microsoft Expressions!)…

    Motion. (Introducing Microsoft Motion!! that sounds good.)

    Dazzle. (probably taken)


    Argh, I can’t think of anymore…coming up with good product names is hard!

  11. Anonymous says:

    How about Splash

    That’s what they call window art in the sign painting business.

  12. Anonymous says:

    SilverLight – note the S, and the V, and the G, which of course is the acronym for SVG or "Scalable Vector Graphics", which it the technology produced by the W3C, that basically does the same stuff. This is the conspiracy theory being played with over there on their newsgroups. Furthermore SilverLight has more letters stuffed between S-V-G, alluding very sneakily to the fact that Silverlight has more features.

    Frankly I think it’s a total coincidence, but it’s still fun to watch people dream this up.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Why Not WepLet

    {From Java Applet to microsoft WepLet}.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Obviously, it came from Flash 🙂

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hey, how about ‘Crash!’.

    Introducing the NEW WIndows Crash! Crashing onto a desktop or mobile internet device near you!

    Or Flare. Man, that’s the FL from FLash, ain’t it?

  16. drawkbox says:

    >>How about Splash

    Originally Flash was called FutureSplash

    >> Motion.

    Microsoft ALREADY had a "flash killer" that was killed called LiquidMotion back in the day.

    Just Sparkle or Silver would have been better I agree but as long as its good tech it won’t matter the name. Is it good tech? We shall see…

  17. drawkbox says:

    Silverlight circa 1998 as LiquidMotion

  18. Anonymous says:

    Como já expliquei aqui, tive uma semana cheia, portanto o resumo ficou meio magrinho, vou tentar me atualizar

  19. Anonymous says:

    Tim Sneath is awesome, if you don't read his blog , you should. You really, really should. He's

  20. Anonymous says:

    Well this is a funny post by Tim Sneath, and raise some question about who's in charge of naming

  21. Anonymous says:

    One of the great things about being on the VB team is that we’re generally in the loop early and often

  22. Anonymous says:

    De când nu am mai scris în blog, multe s-au mai întâmplat. Academic Tour 3.0, o excursie de două zile

  23. Anonymous says:

    .. If not, it’s time! Between the amazing demos and the news about .NET support on different platforms

  24. Anonymous says:

    From what I’ve seen so far, SilverLight looks cool. But what a stupid, unoriginal name! Silverlight = light with a sparkle=Flash! Guys you killed a great product with a ho-hum name that’s too close to Flash.

  25. Anonymous says:

    No evento MIX , que ocorreu na semana passada em Las Vegas, o grande destaque foram os anúncios envolvendo

  26. Anonymous says:

    Why didn’t you just go with ShockwaveCopy?

    or NotFlash, or maybe just BrightLight instead of Flash (though you went with light)

    tonyadobe– "How about: ITI – innovation through imitation"

    very very nice, should be the name of the company

  27. Anonymous says:

    Read the different names they were considering before settling on Silverlight. This is amusing. You can

  28. Anonymous says:

    Czemu tu ludzie piszą w obcych językach? Powinno być zakazane.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I love the name "Silverlight", this sounds great !

  30. Anonymous says:

    I have been in your presentation in Madrid. Name is fantastic, and the product is also fantastic.


  31. Anonymous says:

    Saw the Sivlerlight in action.

    It is really cool.

    Flex(Flash) vs Silverlight

  32. Anonymous says:

    Many startups have asked me questions regarding Silverlight during the last few weeks. I have written a blog post to answer the most frequent questions I was asked. I hope it can help you:

    I also link to useful resources for startups/developers who want to build on Silverlight.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Silverlight reminds me of silverfish.  Yuk.

    I liked Sparkle.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I thought it was just going to be called critical update.


  35. Anonymous says:

    Why nobody b-stormed – Flashlight!  – keep me out from the dark my Lord, I don’t wanna be there…Flashlight…

  36. Anonymous says:

    How about…

    1. WFA (Windows Fake Advantage)

    2. Macro-soft Clipboard

    3. Shortcut to Flash

    4. Copy of Shortcut to Flash (1)

    5. Copy of Shortcut to Flash (2)

    6. Copy of Shortcut to Flash (3)

    1+e∞. Copy of Shortcut to Flash (∞)

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