Microsoft revamps Download Center using Silverlight

Microsoft is using Silverlight to enhance its highly trafficked Download Center Web site

Microsoft continues to eat its own dog food to promote the adoption of its Silverlight technology.

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

A visit to the Microsoft Download Center on Tuesday 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 highly trafficked Microsoft site where users can download software updates over the Web, as well as get 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 optimized 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 Web sites.

This year Microsoft began in earnest to use Silverlight across its Web site, 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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