Microsoft has formally announced its Silverlight technology which, like Flash, is designed to create richer web experiences. The technology works via a cross-platform and cross-browser plug-in. Microsoft even announced it will be available on Linux in the future.

It was previously speculated that Microsoft could use Silverlight's media capabilities to bring DRM-tethered media content to the Mac. Currently Microsoft DRM is restricting services like Channel 4's 4OD and the BBC iPlayer to Windows XP PCs.

According to Microsoft, Silverlight "provides enhanced web audio and video streaming and playback using industry-leading Windows Media Technologies".

"Our expectations for compelling, immersive experiences on the web are increasing daily," said Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's chief software architect. "With today's release of Silverlight 1.0, we're making it possible for developers and designers to deliver to individuals the kind of high-def experiences they crave by integrating data and services in rich and unique ways.

Expression Encoder 1.0

"Silverlight will further accelerate the growth in rich interactive applications by giving developers and designers new options for delivering great experiences that span the web, PC, phone and other devices."

Microsoft says that more than 35 design agencies and content networks have agreed to support the technology. The corporation has also announced Expression Encoder 1.0, a tool that makes it simple for professionals to encode, enhance and publish rich media content to Silverlight.

Feature: Hi-ho Silverlight