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back to article Fans roast Microsoft for Silverlight demotion

Microsoft is facing a wave of disbelief and anger from Windows programmers after saying that it is demoting the would-be Flash-killer Silverlight for HTML5. Server and tools president Bob Muglia apologized for any "controversy and confusion" caused by comments in an interview last week, when he said that Microsoft has shifted …

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Flame

HA ha ha haha Ha!

Oh my, I'm laughing so hard I'm weeping. Schadenfreude? A bit. But mainly, the kind of "told you so" encapsulated by Santayana's "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

What Foley really needs to do is have a secret division that teaches a course on "What Microsoft has done to others (in the past) they will do to you (and sooner than you know)" and with so many possible examples, they could teach that course three years in a row without repeating.

C'mon, remember OS/2? One columnist/author was so revolted by Microsoft's treachery he swore he would never write about their software again. Strange he had to crawl back and continue lapping up the squeezings?

Remember the Win95 launch video? I know someone personally shafted by Microsoft because his company didn't think to *require* extensive mention of company name in their demo segment of the video. There went Win95 tooling down the road in his convertible sports car, wowing everyone with the drawing from his daughter showing up on the printer in the front seat. Oh, and his company went down a quite different road, to Flushville.

Microsoft simply cannot be trusted. #1 because they are total mercenaries. #2 because they are (very often) completely clueless. The result is that you only think they are fighting alongside you, you then find their sword inside you. Or find that you were simply cannon-fodder.

Trust only the product in front of you. Use it only if it is useful to you. If you depend on anything promised for the future, you'll be history sooner or later.

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Silver badge

Perhaps peopla are not that stupid

MS made massive and ruthless inroads into the desktop (Windows + Office) in the pre-2000 era. They screwed over many value providers including Borland and Novell.

Since then MS have really failed to get traction in any other markets/spaces except Xbox and are losing market share in their core business.

Approx 5 years back, MS were pleading for other development suite/middleware people to enrich WinCE. Very few responded. Clearly many remembered how Borland and other middleware providers got screwed and knew the same would happen in WinCE space.

The same is true of MS web development tools. Very few have picked those up.

People no longer blindly trust MS.

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Anonymous Coward

Regarding your #1 and #2

What's that saying... never claim conspiracy where ineptitude will do?

As much as I might dislike Microsoft, I just can't imagine they'd pee in the pool with their beloved developers. I can't see their demotion of Silverlight as a cost saving measure either. I think it's just another failure of the "hey would you download our plugin/platform to run this poor developer's app" model. Without a critical mass to incent ubiquitous adoption (like Flash) it just doesn't work so well.

What gets me is why they thought it was a good idea to add another model like this into the mix. We already have Flash, Java, and .NET - why do we need another? Especially one that won't run on roughly half the platforms out there?

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Headmaster

Clarification

Borland sucked in comparison to VS that's why they lost. While at the beginning they did have a better UI Design interface (beginning of the 90's) they stayed the same and microsoft innovated. And Office was better than Corel and other office processors. Office was back then the only user friendly and easy to understand office software. And it looked good too. Microsoft won in the 90's because they were good and innovative.

A propos WinCE the problem is microsoft didn't get it that small portable devices are seen as personal by their users, a trend that goes to computers too (think about how important is a desktop wallpaper for you). And microsoft didn't take care to mentor the hardware producers in that direction. So they don't own the mobile market now (although my wife was very happy with her XDA with Windows Mobile on it between 2003-2006, she's a sxey geek though).

"People no longer blindly trust microsoft". Well that's not bad for a start, but grown-ups should not trust blindly anyone in the technology field. At the moment you should choose the technology that best fits your internal IT landscape.

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Boffin

RE: Clarification

"Borland sucked in comparison to VS that's why they lost. While at the beginning they did have a better UI Design interface (beginning of the 90's) they stayed the same and microsoft innovated."

I was there, and that's not how it went. Borland was, better than VS in nearly every way. Their problem was two fold: (1) they insisted on modifying C++ with vtables rather than using a simpler macro system as did MS; (2) they lied (apparently as a matter of corporate policy) in an attempt to whitewash bugs.

So while technically MS might have been a better choice, it was only because Borland made foolish decisions and lied about bad news.

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Alert

Oh, and did you forget...

...Undocumented Windows?!? You know, the secret APi that allowed visual studio's debugger ro work graphically, while specifically bre4aking Borland's much better debugger?

I thought so...

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Jobs Horns

living history versus reading about it

Borland was head and shoulders above MS Visual C. MS Developers developed with it, using MS VC for the final compile, as there were hidden hooks in the MS flavor of the C compiler (withheld from Borland, of course). Do you want to mention the poaching MS did to Borland?

Office better then Corel - I assume you mean Word Perfect? Once again, API's were withheld. If you'd actually experienced history instead of just read about it, you'd know this was a Big Deal.

I agree with not blindly trusting, but I must say, past behavior must be taken into account too. Did I use Silverlight? No - as it is MS-only tech. Regardless of the tech, if it is MS-only, I avoid it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Microsoft_criticisms_and_controversies

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Stop

sucker

"Your comments (or at least the snippets that appeared in print) may have done irreparable damage to my career, and many others like myself that threw all of their eggs into the Silverlight basket."

Sorry, mate, but the one to blame for your career getting wrecked because you put all your eggs in a basket over which you have precisely no control or influence - indeed, a basket over which only an entity which naturally has no regard for anything but its own perceived best interests has any control or influence at all - would be...you. Sucker.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: sucker

Do you want to take this outside?

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Anonymous Coward

I second that

"Your comments (or at least the snippets that appeared in print) may have done irreparable damage to my career, and many others like myself that threw all of their eggs into the Silverlight basket."

Cry me a river. Looks like you could use some training in critical thinking - maybe at the same time as your HTML5 course, schmuck.

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Terminator

outside

No, but my friend Geoff Peterson does.

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Terminator

Let's take it outside.

By all means, let's take it outside. I've got my referee shirt on under my Polo.

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Gold badge

Silverlight pwnage and de facto standards

Regrading Ross Wozniak and the "many others like myself that threw all of their eggs into the Silverlight basket."... really? How can this be any surprise whatsoever. Microsoft always, ALLLLWAAAYYYS hard sells and evangelizes almost everything they come out with, until they get distracted by something else. This has happened again and again and again, this new thing they've come up with? It's the best thing since sliced bread, absolutely the wave of the future and EVERYONE should use it. A couple years later, oh no that's legacy, I mean I guess you can use it if you have to, but there's this new thing you REALLY should be using, it's the best thing since sliced bread.

This is why I prefer programming for Linux -- you can write a program and not only does it run 10 or 20 years later (Windows is OK about this too) but it'll be using pretty close to current best practices instead of being propped up by 3 or 4 generation old legacy cruft. POSIX (for base stuff), gtk (UI), SDL (2D gaming), OpenGL (3D), libavcodec (video and audio codec support)... there's gpsd handling all gps systems, libxml to handle XML, and so on. And if you prefer to use Ruby, or Python, or whatever, there'll be bindings to use these. I've been using Linux since 1994, so I've seen many of these develop.. POSIX was already an industry standard by then.. but what'll happen is, when the community decides to support some technology, several to numerous libraries will come out to do it, within about 6 months the best will float to the top by consensus, and development will focus on improving that further. This mostly avoids the situation of having to throw it all out and start over like Microsoft does so often.

(Admittedly, regarding gtk, both gtk and Qt were and are used for UI programming pretty often. )

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Not all bad (imo)

I see this as an ideal opportunity for Moonlight to catch up with the official Silverlight implementation (Moonlight is currently Silverlight 2 compatible). In the meanwhile the main enhancements we'll see introduced to Silverlight will be aimed at mobile devices, ensuring developers can optimise certain features of their software for those devices.

Silverlight is a viable technology for user interfaces and although Expression could do with further improvements to make life easier for some developers I personally don't think Silverlight needs any significant changes for a while.

In my opinion Microsoft are doing the right thing, they're not abandoning Silverlight, they're simply giving developers an opportunity to become more familiar with its intricacies. At the same time they're ensuring that HTML 5 tools will be available for developers who want to take advantage of an open standard. As usual you can't please everyone all the time, fair play for trying though.

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FAIL

a chance for moonlight to catch up?

Ha! That makes me laugh. "Oh look, Silverlight is reaching the end of the cul-de-sac. If we speed up now we might catch it!"

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Anonymous Coward

Can it do Netflix?

Seriously, all I need to do is get Netflix running on Linux and I can ditch Win7 on my HTPC!

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FAIL

Silverlight?

If MS are going to use HTML5 open standards, what was the point of Silverlight in the first place?

If they'd have open sourced it in the first place, maybe there wouldn't have be this problem.

It looks as if they'll eventually just adandon it, having wasted millions (or how ever much it cost) of $.

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Look at the timetables

Silverlight came out long before HTML5 was nailed down. At the time, there was no consensus on what features would go in or how, the one early implementation had to waste a lot of time cutting and reorganizing features as the spec evolved.

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Anonymous Coward

Seriously?

Gavin,

If you think this statement;

"Clearly, Microsoft believes there's more to be had from having apps and content built using Microsoft tools and services than in continuing to push its own vision for a Flash-like player."

seems to imply that Microsoft sees more value in building apps for someone else's platform than for its own.

It seems hopelessly naive to think that's true of Microsoft.

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Coat

..and

..adding to the list of technology shaftings from Microsoft:

What about their "commitment" to OpenGL in the early NT days?

Or promising game developers that WinG will be "it" on Win4/Win95 for game development?

What about shutting down Aces Studio and shafting several big corporations and government departments using ESP?

There's a long list of technologies used, abused and then dropped by Microsoft - hurting their partners and their customers in the process.

Of course, it also says a lot about these partners and customers when they simply ask for extra lube and stick with Microsoft for the next round of shafting.

Mine's the one with the penguin in the pocket.

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Aaaaaaaaand?

What, Microsoft, ditch a technology three years after telling everyone else to bet the house on it?

Yeah, that's their thing, and silverlight was an obvious punt on only maybe killing flash from the outset. They've done much worse than this to larger numbers of developers and will do it again. Ditch 'em. Go develop for something/someone else.

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Anonymous Coward

Tough breaks all around

Too bad for all of the folks looking forward to the Silverlight gravy train. Better luck next time. My heart goes out to you, really, it does.

OTOH, Looks like MS will have to E,E,E, HTML5

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Happy

Humble Pie?

Well, this actually puts MS in a new light for me. Their ability to say they were wrong and join the "standards" way forward shows them in a new humble light for me. I say well done !

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Silver badge

MS never joins the standard

It is just adapting a new methodology in its "embrace, adapt, extend" policy.

MS has simply acknowledged that Silverlight is not successful against Flash, and will be investing (infesting ?) HTML5 to do so more efficiently.

I'd wait to see just how many "new functions" Microsoft implements in its version of HTML5 before I decide whether or not it has actually "joined" the standard or totally tried to subvert it.

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Flame

And yet...

How far along would HTML5 in IE be if they had dedicated all their development resource to that instead of Silverlight? What a waste of everyone's time and effort to achieve nothing aside from wasting more of other people's time and effort. How irritating.

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Happy

Never did figure out...

...what Silverlight was supposed to do - they kept wanting me to download and install it but there was nothing to explain why I could possibly want it.

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Thumb Up

Adverts..

More adverts, innane animations, inept UI designs, sound, CPU wastage...

I've FlashBlock to calm Flash down and 'just say no' to prevent Silverlight from installing. Now if only I could simply eliminate pointless jQuery animations...

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Thumb Down

Irony of Ironies

That I finally downloaded Silverlight in order to access the Ghosthunters Halloween show...

argh

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Boffin

Doesn't sound unreasonable...

It makes sense - if you want the broadest support (particularly a wide range of mobile devices) - go HTML5. You'll never get Silverlight onto iOS devices for a start.

However, if you want the richest applications, with a more limited range of support (PC + Mac, with Moonlight possibly for Linux) then go with Silverlight.

From what I've seen, MS haven't dropped Silverlight - they've just realised that iOS is a major player now, and HTML5 is the only way they can get richer content onto those, and other, devices.

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Gates Horns

Anti Trust

"In just three years, the Silverlight player had become installed on "two-thirds" of PCs."

Thats what happens when you have market share you can use security tools such as windows update to push out your new software onto the unsuspecting public!

I think this practice should be banned and go the way of IE through the courts.

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Anonymous Coward

Let me clarify this

It's an OPTIONAL update.

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Silver badge

2/3rds of PC's?

So you have a PC OS market share of 89% and still cant force your flagship technology down all their throats? That should have rung a bell with developers - or at least ones who know how to keep their options open.

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Thumb Up

eggs, numbnutts, whats the difference?

"and many others like myself that threw all of their eggs into the Silverlight basket"

Therefore you're an idiot and perhaps deserve what you get

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It's happened before

This isn't the first time something has been touted as the latest-and-greatest only to be redacted later. Linq to Sql was one of the biggest new features that came out with .NET 2.0+. Everyone was using it. Then came the ADO.NET Entity Framework. Which did the same thing (and more), and so they stopped development on Linq to SQL with similar statements - it's not "going away", it just won't be developed anymore. Same angry waves of disbelief pervaded.

A constantly changing focus can be very dissuading for developers. I've spent all this time learning technology X but now you're telling me that Y is better. Why didn't you tell me about Y before? Mind you, there could be perfectly legitimate reasons, but most of it comes down to commercial factors. It wouldn't be too profitable to go against HTML5's <video> as well as Flash, so off you go, let's focus on HTML5's features.

Flip side - as a developer you SHOULD be expanding your skills constantly and not build an entire career structure around one single technology.

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Gates Horns

Ummmm, OK

What sort of treatment exactly did the "fans" expect to get from Microsoft?

It's not like they don't have lots of prior form in this regard.

Numpties

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Could it be...

...MPEG-LA putting up a united front for the anti Ogg campaign?

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Go

Harsh but fair

I think the MS strategy -focus on HTML5- is the right one. It's x-platform, works in other people's browsers, way less proprietary. Did silverlight ever work on linux desktops? Nope. So that's it out of TVs, android phones, lots of the embedded space. Do we really need another flash -another proprietary plugin for browsers that is somewhat security ridden and used to deliver bouncing adverts? Not really, no.

I feel sorry for anyone who committed to silverlight, but as the first poster pointed out: MS are only ever your friend for as long as it suits them. They recognised that Silverlight wasn't going to win, and have come up with a new strategy. It's either that or follow a strategy that they themselves have given up on. They may feel sorry for the developers -and their own investment- but it's not like they had a choice, that silverlight was suddenly going to become wildly successful.

Anyone else who follows a single big vendor's strategy; Adobe, Oracle, Facebook, take note. If your business model depends on the strategic direction of a company way bigger than you being consistent, it's doomed. The only issue is when do things fall apart.

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Hurrah!

Silverlight is dead!

What next for the bastardised half arsed Moonlight version?

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Megaphone

Why the broohaha

All the critics are acting so self-righteous, but Silverlight has a 70% installation base (http://riastats.com) on PCs, Macs and other desktop factors and will probably gain more traction now that people see it's not runtime-world domination that M$ wants. Let's not forget it is also becoming very relevant on the mobile space and will most probably run on android, perhaps on ios aswell (perhaps via SL->HTML conversion?)

I think this is a clever move by Microsoft, because HTML5 is obviously more cross platform and standards driven than any runtime will ever be, so why blame them that they're hedging their bets.

The Flash fanbois will meet the same fate sooner or later, the world is just better off without bloatware (of any kind!).

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Desktop - there's your answer

It has been installed on a large proportion of desktops. However most 'rich content' stuff has to work on all formats. If you where an advertiser would you make your adverts:

a) look really whizzy but only be guaranteed a windows desktop audience

b) look a bit less whizzy but be the same on any phone, set top box, tablet, netbook or PC that can access it.

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FAIL

MS is fighting and it's funny!

70% install base? That wouldn't be because MS "sneaked" it in with other updates would it? One thing to ask people to do something another to do it for them and claim they asked for it.

Face it, MS made something, no one of any importance bothered to pay attention due to previous MS track record. Sorry mate, MS are trying to ride a tired old wave. They think they can simply wave their magic wand like they did around the Win98/XP days and everyone will all fawn over MS products. There're dozens more choices for info delivery these days, not just a PC and an internet connection anymore.

Lots of platforms and lots of choices are availble, MS for the first time in their lives are having to fight for our attention and they can't hack it!

Shame, wish I cared but like most people I chop and change my tech allegiance to whatever suits my purpose, currently OSX. When MS get off their arses and beat Apple's offerings, maybe in a year or two, I will jump back or maybe the Penguin might be good for a change.

I am a tech "whore" 'cos life is too short, stuff needs to get done and I favour those that can help me get my stuff done, here and now, not some PR pipe dream in 2 years time.

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Pint

Silverlight for webapplications

If you were using silverlight for building webapplications you were doing it wrong anyway.

Just as if you were using Flash.

Silverlight will still be a viable client technology just as WPF, QT, flash etc... Too be honest I think MS is still going to need a crossplatform client technology too since most apps that are installed on portable devices are client apps, not HTML 5 apps.

Beer cause I like to discuss tech choices with a nice pint.

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Welcome

well at least "wp7 ftw"

If Flash is supposed to wither, I don't see why not Silverlight. There might be a resurgence of Flash and Silverlight if Java will become unpopular. This was obvious the moment Apple rejected Flash.

Until Java might become unpopular, I put my money on Silverlight for WP7.

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D3D Retained Mode

Those of us who made the mistake of buying into that pig in a poke learned this lesson 15 years ago, and we weren't the first to get smacked around by Microsoft's pendulous wobbling whimstick. Approach with CAUTION.

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Black Helicopters

That meeting between MS and Adobe

MS agreed to limit Silverlight to WP7, i.e. stop competing against Flash.

So what did Adobe agree to do in return?

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Gold badge

Experience is a harsh teacher...

...and apparently some are still in denial.

"Commenter Ross Wozniak [told] Muglia:

"Your comments (or at least the snippets that appeared in print) may have done irreparable damage to my career, and many others like myself that threw all of their eggs into the Silverlight basket. I *expect* you to fix this, and soon!"

Er, why's that, Mr Wozniak? Do you have a contract with MS to keep your career going? You had the same information as the rest of us but chose to throw all your career eggs into one basket. Perhaps now you can see why we didn't do that, but you really have no redress against the wicked Microsofties unless they signed a contract, and I think we both know that they didn't.

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WTF?

It seems like you lose when you win

Ah I see, so MS decide to do things in a 'non standard' way, and loads of people hate on them. Then they decide to things in a standards based way, and loads of people hate on them. Brilliant.

As for this :

"Your comments (or at least the snippets that appeared in print) may have done irreparable damage to my career, and many others like myself that threw all of their eggs into the Silverlight basket."

Well, firstly, isn't there a saying along the lines that you shouldn't ? Something pithy like "Don't put all your eggs in one basket", in fact.

Secondly, as anyone who has been an MS dev for more than about five minutes knows, the retool/reskill cycle on MS platforms is about two years. Get used to it. If you or your boss haven't taken this into account, you're doing it wrong.

Thirdly, stop whining. Did you really expect that a single skill set would last you entire career ? Go learn something new, pussies.

And fourthly and lastly, Silverlight doesn't get switched off tomorrow. The sky is not falling. Go back to your cubicles and prepare for roadmaps.

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Pirate

How accurate..

The top of Page 2 was...I got to the bottom of Page 1 and had a good chuckle along those very lines...

"Open sourcers might chuckle at the predicament of the Windows fan:"

Of course that dude that *expect*s M$ to fix this! Yeah...And world capitalism really is really good for you and for all humans...DOH

Skull and Cross Swords as I'll be long in my grave before some folks waken up to the horrors...

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Wrong

"it's a comment on how the industry has changed"

No, the industry is carrying on exactly as it was before - not using your proprietary software.

It's not as if this is the first time MS has taken a dump over a large portion of it's developer community, and it won't be the last.

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xyz
Thumb Up

Thank f*** for that

After years of the dead weight of bloody .Net "web forms" and effin Silverlight, MS realise that they've shafted themselves, so we're now getting under the counter cool stuff like asp.net MVC and a volte face and all that crap they've been producing webwise since .Net 1.x is now going in the bin at last. oh happy days!

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