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Netflix to Drop Microsoft Silverlight

By Evan Niu, CFA - Apr 15, 2013 at 10:00PM

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Netflix says it will transition from Microsoft Silverlight towards HTML5, and it has plenty of time to make the switch.

Online video streamer Netflix (NFLX 1.98%) has now outlined its intentions to move away from Microsoft (MSFT 2.76%) Silverlight as the browser plugin that it uses to stream content. The change was announced on Netflix's Tech Blog, and the company will be transitioning toward HTML5 instead. Netflix cites Microsoft's decision to end Silverlight support in 2021, giving Netflix plenty of time to find a replacement.

Netflix acknowledges that some users view browser plugins as security and privacy risks, and Netflix may be the only reason some use Silverlight in the first place. Silverlight also isn't ubiquitous, as many browsers (even Microsoft's own Metro version of Internet Explorer in Windows 8) do not support plugins. That limits the reach of Silverlight, while HTML5 is an accepted open standard.

The company says it's been collaborating with Google (GOOGL 4.20%) to implement support in its popular Chrome browser. The announcement comes just months after CEO Reed Hastings stepped down from Microsoft's board late last year.

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