Silverlight Streaming Beta Ends for Paid Azure Option

Microsoft said today it is discontinuing its beta of a service that lets developers building Silverlight-based applications host and distribute them free of charge.

The Silverlight Streaming by Windows Live Beta will be removed and replaced by a paid service based on Microsoft's forthcoming Azure cloud-based service by year's end, said James Clarke, a program manager on Microsoft's Expression Encoder team in a blog posting.

Silverlight Streaming was billed as a companion service allowing developers to host and scale their Silverlight apps including videos using Microsoft's Expression Designer and other third-party tools. Developers and designers could use the service to integrate Silverlight-based apps into their own sites.

Microsoft gave those using the service up to 10 Gbytes of  freecapacity. The company is curtailing new accounts effective immediately, according to Clarke. Likewise the company is no longer making available the Silverlight Streaming publishing plug-in for Expression Encoder. "The new Windows Azure functionality will not be a direct replacement for the Silverlight Streaming service and will be a paid subscription service," Clarke noted.

Given it was a a beta service offered free of charge, it was to be expect that Microsoft would ulitmately pull the plug on it, said RedMonk analyst Michael Cote in an email. "Generating revenue from video streaming is a logical path to take," Cote noted. "It's nice that they're collapsing it under the Azure brand to get all their cloud eggs in one basket."

Microsoft is expected to launch Azure at its Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles next month. The company released the final Community Test Preview last week, which is feature complete, Microsoft said (see SQL Azure Is PDC Ready in CTP 2).

In his blog posting, Clarke posted instructions on how developers can retrieve their content from the Silverlight Streaming site, which will remain available until the new offering is launched.


About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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