If 2+2=4, Silverlight Is Important To Windows 8

For those following the excitement around Windows 8 and the speculation around Silverlight there’s more fuel to the fire today. Julie Larson-Green, who demo-ed Windows 8’s tablet interface at AllThingsD’s D9 conference a few weeks back sent out the following as part of an email:

“We’re pleased to announce the transition of the XAML platform team from the Developer Division to the Windows team”

This is a big step for better or worse. For long I’ve believed that Sivlerlight will be Microsoft’s development platform for a web-desktop mash-up OS and as an outsider I see this as validation of that theory. Steven Sinofsky during the demo mentioned XML and HTML5 being the preferred development platforms for the immersive apps. This led to the debate about Silverlight and WPF’s demise.

In the simplest terms (Wikipedia) XAML is Microsoft’s proprietary implementation of XML and according to Microsoft, XAML plays an important role in Silverlight. Adding these two together, moving part of the XAML team into the Windows division makes a lot of sense to me as an outsider.

However, there’s an insider view on this from someone who was part of the Silverlight and WPF teams. (He’s not with Microsoft anymore.) According to Scott, since Microsoft has split the XAML team into three groups (Windows – desktop, Windows Phone and Developer Division) this means the resources are being divided and signifies another nail in Silverlight & WPF’s coffin.

While to me, integrating the XAML team into Windows seems a good idea, my limited understanding of Microsoft’s internal culture makes me skeptical of my initial thoughts on Silverlight. Probably digging up a track record of Microsoft’s past team dividing exercises can shed some light.