Microsoft's challenge to Adobe and their popular Flash platform draws ever closer. It is rumored now that Silverlight 2 may soon enter beta. Hints from a Microsoft blog indicate that the company is not yet set on a launch date, but wants to begin demoing the technology as early as possible this year.

Silverlight 2, as you can imagine, is the next iteration of the Silverlight platform which they believe can make a serious dent in the rich internet application market. Just like its competitors, Silverlight has been developed to be cross-browser and cross-platform. But the new functionality of Silverlight 2 is supposed to turn it into much more than just a media platform, having more of a client/server model that would enable developers to use it for a huge number of things. Functional or not, Flash as it stands today isn't an easy target to contend with.