Microsoft looking for a Silverlight bullet

From the Olympics to AOL to the Hard Rock Cafe, Microsoft tries to show that Silverlight is both popular with customers and compatible with rivals.

LAS VEGAS--Microsoft is looking to position its Silverlight Web technology as the coolest kid in school--one that is both popular and gets along with everyone.

The Hard Rock Cafe arrived at Mix 08 to show how it is using Silverlight to show its 70,000 pieces of rock and roll history online. Dan Farber/CNET

At the Mix '08 show here, the company talked about its Mac, Linux, and mobile-phone compatibility and brought out customers like Hard Rock Cafe, NBC, and AOL to talk about how they are using the technology. It also showed Silverlight running on the newest compatible device--Nokia's smartphones.

Microsoft's Scott Guthrie also alluded to support for Apple's iPhone, saying Microsoft wants Silverlight running on "anything that has an SDK (software development kit)."

In the Hard Rock Cafe example, the restaurant and hotel chain used the technology to showcase its massive, 70,000-piece collection of rock artifacts. "This is 2 billion pixels," said a representative of the company who built the site for the Hard Rock.

AOL showed off a new version of AOL Mail, while NBC touted its plans to use Silverlight to bring more than 2,200 hours of video both live and on-demand.

The Hard Rock Cafe catalogued over 2 billion pixels' worth of images as it took its rock gear collection online with Silverlight. Dan Farber/CNET

It's all part of Microsoft's aggressive pitch to Web developers, a clear acknowledgment that Microsoft faces a tough battle to win the hearts and minds of those who build Web sites and applications.

"I know today you have many amazing technology choices," Ray Ozzie said in his introductory comments. "But I'd like you to bet on us because I think together we can create extraordinary experiences.

Scott Guthrie, general manager in Microsoft's Developer Division, addresses the crowd at Mix '08. Dan Farber/CNET
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