Yesterday, Microsoft released Silverlight 5, available on IE, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari on both Mac and PC. The update adds hardware decoding for H.264 media, some new programming features for developers, and other performance improvements. Silverlight 5 may also be the end of the line for Silverlight. Windows 8 will support Silverlight 5 in full desktop mode, but the Metro-style browser will not and neither does Windows Phone.

More to the point, while Microsoft plans on supporting Silverlight 5 for ten years (which in itself may be a sign that it won't have a followup), the company is clearly more interested in directing developers to other frameworks for development, including Metro apps for Windows 8 and HTML5/Javascript frameworks that are compatible with IE10. It could be that, like Adobe before it, Microsoft has recognized that the era of the web browser plugin is behind us. Silverlight has other applications, but we'd be surprised to see Microsoft make big Silverlight push again.