Microsoft announced yesterday the official release of its cross-browser, cross-platform Silverlight 1.0 plug-in, which is set to rival Adobe's ubiquitous Flash media format for delivering rich user experiences on the web. The 1.0 version of Silverlight, which is now available for download, is geared toward providing enhanced web audio and hi-res video streaming and playback using 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. 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 said it won't use Windows Update to push Silverlight out to consumers, but instead it will rely on content providers such as Netflix, Major League Baseball, and Entertainment Tonight,, among others to support the format.

While Silverlight currently works with major browsers found in both Windows and Mac computers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari, Microsoft has confirmed that it will work with Novell to make Silverlight available on Linux clients as well, via the Moonlight project.