RIM has no plans at this time to bring Microsoft Silverlight support to the BlackBerry Platform. Should they?!

Microsoft Silverlight
By Kevin Michaluk on 8 Aug 2011 06:07 pm EDT

The current problem with no Microsoft Silverlight support on the BlackBerry PlayBook / QNX BB Platform...

And RIM's current plan to address that issue as relayed by the @blackberrydev twitter account today...

Microsoft Silverlight

Some of you may be reading this post and scratching your head... What's Microsoft Silverlight? To use the official verbage from Microsoft, Microsoft Silverlight is a free web-browser plug-in that enables interactive media experiences, rich business applications and immersive mobile apps. While most computer web browsers/OS's support Silverlight, not a lot of mobile devices do (as you might guess, Windows Phone does).

This doesn't necessarily cause huge problems in the mobile world as companies that use Silverlight on the desktop find other ways to deliver their content be it through Flash or even HTML 5 but there are still some sites out there that are not targeting mobile devices. One in particular has become problematic for myself, Rai.TV - an Italian video site is one of my girlfriend's parents favorite sites and due to the lack of Silverlight on the BlackBerry PlayBook they're currently unable to view videos using it, rendering the device useless in their opinion (seriously, I even bought them a microHDMI cable so they could hook up the PlayBook to the tv to watch Rai big screen, only to experience the #silverlight #fail).

While this may be somewhat of a personal gripe for myself, I'm wondering how many other people have ran into this issue on their PlayBooks. As it stands right now, RIM advertises the PlayBook as supporting the FULL Internet, but as my real world story illustrates, without Silverlight support that's sort of not the case. With RIM openly shooting down the idea, but at the same time willing to accept feedback on the matter I'm lead to believe they could create a plugin if demand for it was high enough. So that said; have you run into any sites using Silverlight you wished worked on the PlayBook? Are there enough sites out there using it that it's a hindrance? Could RIM benefit from having it built into QNX, considering Windows Phone owns the market for it now and that QNX will be powering our future BlackBerry SuperPhones? Sound off in the comments!

Reader comments

RIM has no plans at this time to bring Microsoft Silverlight support to the BlackBerry Platform. Should they?!


You beat me to it... Was immediately going to post: "Netflix anyone?" ;) Netflix would just block the PlayBook though like Hulu has. Boo.

I doubt netflix would block it like hulu did, netflix has worked hard to try and bring it's service to as many devices as possible. If playbook supported sliverlight this would be one less device netflix would have to worry about developing for. I love watching HBOgo on my playbook, I used my AT&T mifi to stream kids movie during a recent 13 hour car trip. being able to do the same with netflix right through the browser would be great. One less app I would need to install and make sure was updated.

I say, treat Silverlight the same as we treat flash.... trash'em and just build a great app or build in HTML5. The end. These two software platforms just kill mobile devices.

Flash, Silverlight, HTML5 are all platforms. All of them can be coded for badly. All of them can be implemented badly. All of them can also be coded for well, with reasonable implementations.

There's no reason to believe HTML5 will be any better than the other options for doing the same thing. Or that it's even an option for certain situations.

not only it takes away the "full web experience"...it also takes away easy porting of apps... all those 1000 of apps ... i want that book reader i'm using on my mac!

Yes. A Finnish video-on-demand service called MTV3 Katsomo. They do not offer their content in anything but Silverlight. I can't view the news or watch Finnish series on the PlayBook because of this. Instead, I get this: http://twitpic.com/53ktjw

Please, RIM!

There's a streaming video service I use quite frequently on my laptop. It's a very small, obscure pay service called Netflix.

I know, I know, you've never heard of it. Why would RIM go out of their way to satisfy a small percentage of users? Who even uses this Netflix thing anyway? Whats this 'streaming video' you speak of?

Those are all excellent questions and to be honest I have no answers for you. I'm sure RIM's dev teams are far too busy to satisfy such a tiny demographic.


how big is the percentage of MSoft's Silverlight enabled websites compared to those which use flash/HTML5? other tablets like the iPad 2 has no flash support but people keep on and on pursuing for them. it now depends on how RIM would satisfy their customers by the power of the QNX here, come on RIM!!!

this is one of the usecases where my PB fallls way short of what I had in mind / what I thought I'd be using it for before I bought it. I too had bought a hdmi cable and wanted to stream vidoe content from a non us television station (nrk.no), but was hugly dissapointed when it didn't work out.

this is also the main reason why I haven't bought a PB for my mom yet..So RIM.. you could've sol..eh.. shipped 500 001 if you had had that plug in ready from the get-go..

In the UK, Sky tv's on demand service, SkyGo, uses Silverlight having only recently changed from flash... the pity is my girlfriends iPad has a dedicated SkyGo app which didn't bother me as I thought I would be able to access it through the browser.... I love my playbook but the iPad is starting to niggle at me......

I agree; it's frustrating. I posted on the SkyGo support page to ask if they were intending to release a Blackberry Playbook App and they said they have no plans to. This means that Playbook users won't be able to use the SkyGo service unless RIM support Silverlight (or Sky change their mind about an app). Come on RIM add support!

Silverlight is worse than flash, a few websites I encountered served up ads in silverlight and thankfully, never loaded. Linux for life, windows for BDM and video editing (linux also, kino kicks ass!).

I don't need silverADlight.

Netflix doesn't require silverlight.. their desktop version does but, they have iOS and Android apps that work just fine without using Silverlight.

RIM this is a big fail. If you are going to advertise a "full web experience" you need to support a plug-in the is used by companies the size of Netflix. I love the ability to go to multiple sites and watch flash movies without the need of an "app." Come on RIM dont let us down.

Pay attention please we beg you. The vast majority of your consumers went from wanting to demanding you step up. I'm BB through and through. All 5 phones in my household are BB's and a playbook too... Please support silver light.


The lack of Silverlight, and therefore the lack of Netflix, is what has held me back from buying a Playbook. I planned to buy one the day of release, but with no Netflix capabilities, it's not the right device for my needs anymore [not that any other tablet appeals to me right now :)]. Come on RIM, add Silverlight and you'll have my $500.

I'd rather Netflix ditched Silverlight and moved to a more ubiquitous technology that has a future, like HTML5. How do they serve up video to Android devices? IPads?

Why stop at Silverlight plug-in support? It'd be great to run Silverlight applications as well! Seeing as the Playbook is marketed as a "professional-grade" tablet, this would make sense - there are a lot of corporate apps that are written in Silverlight or WPF. Having a Silverlight/WPF virtual machine running on QNX hyper-visor would be awesome (kind of like the Android player idea).

Oh, and there's already a Linux port of Silverlight (called "Moonlight"), which should be a good head start on porting to QNX. Maybe RIM's next acquisition should be Xamarin? :-) If nothing else, getting Miguel de Icaza as a RIM developer would make it worth it!

Their tweet says that they are "open to feedback". Perhaps we should be sending these comments directly to @BlackBerryDev

Everyone saying Netflix should actually read through again...
"companies that use Silverlight on the desktop find other ways to deliver their content be it through Flash or even HTML 5"
Netflix DOESN'T need Silverlight, they just need to create an app, as witnessed on iOS and Android. Sure, the in browser support would be cool.. but a Netflix app would be better and more efficient.

A Netflix app would be better and more efficient but there doesn't seem to be any interest from Netflix in developing one for the PlayBook.

Oh my does this make me mad! I listen to a lot of Internet streaming radio that uses Silverlight. So, I can't access my shows using my PlayBook. That is ok, RIMM doesn't care.

Its needs silverlight or apps for the sites that only work with silverlight.

I don't care how its dune but I want netflix on my playbook.

Again, RIM is not listening and working to please their customers while at the same time
presenting something the PB is not. A full mutli-media web experiance.

Jim and Mike still dont get it!


I think this is not fair to RIM. First of all they have many things in their plate which they are addressing according to the priorities. Secondly in their twitter post itself they mentioned about getting our feedback on this. If we can put the constructive reasoning for RIM (by giving examples as few others are doing) to give Silverlight support the priority then I am sure they will work on it (as they have listened in many previous occasions).
I have not seen any browser even on PC or Mac which supports and renders everything which web has to offer. There will always be some sites or services which are rendered better in one browser than other. RIM can call current browser experience the Full better experience as they currently provide support for the maximum stuff available on the net than any other mobile device currently (to clarify, we are not talking about support through apps but through the browser itself).
In addition for all those who are saying "NETFLIX", what is the guaranty that Netflix will not block Playbook in same way as Hulu did in the name of security BS?
I, for one, would love Silverlight support on my PB as there are quite good Video sites for which currently we do not have app and its always better to have stuff working through browser so that we can one less app to manage.

Not fair to RIM? What?

It is just not this one item, you need to look
at the whole story...the many many screw ups.

To many things on their plate? Perhaps they shouldn't
of laid off so many people. Perhaps they shouldnt of
got into the tablet race.

They stepped into the kitchen, but they cant seem to take the heat nor learn how to plan and properly prepare a complete meal.


Yeah, they don't listen to customers. I want RAID support on the PB and they are not giving it to me. That's why they are in trouble: no RAID support. Mike and Jim don't get it.

/end of sarcasm.

Some people are idiots but think they are fucking brilliant and know what's going on and why.

You are too reasonable here amongst big idiotic whiners.

"Full web". Pfff, it doesn't exist you morons. Not even on your PC. It's a marketing term. Not to be taken literally, knuckleheads.

I only care about it if Netflix doesn't make an app. I'd really rather see sites stay away from using Silverlight. Go with standards damnit!

exactly !!!! case and point no one know what the this bloatware is .. flash sure silverlight bah

Sky tv in the UK. Kinda sucks when I thought I was getting the 'full web'. There's an app for the ipad though...

i dont really wanna be rude Kevin, but this news post is a waste of time. asking for silverlight is just like asking for spellcheck. or asking to have the option to block broadcast messages in BBM. we can only dream.....

i would rather have an app for netflix and everything silverlight needs, what I would luv to have instead of that is ful IMAP support, kevin can you please request that from RIM?

I listen to some radio stations that require Silverlight. Would be really nice. If Netflix doesn't stop using Silverlight, that would be sweet. I would like an app, but I would prefer the desktop version on the PlayBook.

Silverlight would be great, Sky and ITV both use it over here so would be nice plus it seems to be coming more common as well now, I reacon I view more content via silverlight per day than flash now.

God yes, and please hurry, what harm can it do....Besides make things even better and you sell more playbooks?...

Doesn't slingmedia use silverlight aswell?....

While a company cannot be expected to create plugins for every single piece of content on the internet I do believe this is an important one. I have run into some sites which require this plugin and I have been unable to use. When advertising the full web experience they should do their best to support more widespread formats such as this. To not do so is lying about the capabilities of a device, even if it is a little white lie. Unfortunately when attempting to make a mainstream device those little white lies aren't so little anymore and companies have much less wiggle room with what falls under the "must have" items. This omission does not surprise that much. When speaking specifically about the playbook RIM has neglected quite a few essentials which have hurt their image in the publics eye.

Regardless of some of these glaring omissions I have found my playbook quite useful. Their are quite a few things done right.

Yes, RIM needs to get this done. I've been a PlayBook owner almost since release day, and I've been patiently waiting for Silverlight support. I don't see Netflix moving off the Silverlight platform anytime soon, and the PlayBook user base appears to be too small for them to do active dev work for a native app. Silverlight support on PB would allow us to use Netflix and other sites, such as NBA.com video streaming.

Playbook's lack of support for Silverlight is akin to iPad with no support for Flash. Playbook brags about the full web experience. I tell my iPad friends, I don't need an app because I have a fully functional browser. WIthout Silverlight, I don't.

P.S. RIM, if you don't step up to the plate and deliver this as well as the Android player, can I have my money back? #mightbefalseadvertising#

I am actually thinking about creating a twitter account so I can follow RIM and complain when they make stupid decisions like this.

The first thing I thought of when I read this was Apple and Flash! Don't do it RIM! DON'T BECOME APPLE!!! It shouldn't be to hard to incorperate Silverlight! I know licensing is probably the issue, just bite the bullet and do it!!!

*Jim Balsillie Haiku*

Jim is the C.E.O. guy
Research In Motion
I like to use his cell phones


I guess it depends on how hard the implementation is. If its possible to talk to microsoft to help them out with the coding then sure. If it takes away resources away from other projects for the playbook then I think there are other priorities. But RIM should strive to be the best, no taking the lazy way out. If its possible, they should go for it.

Can't think of much other than Netflix. Like others have already said, this would likely eliminate the need for netflix to develop an app in order to support the platform.

I am a big fan of Netflix and would love support in one form or another, but more important to me in regards to silverlight support is honestly the management site for Microsoft Windows InTune. I am a computer consultant and bought my Playbook with the belief there would be Silverlight support and a GoToAssist support agent. That way, either through the bridge, or normal tethering if necessary, I could provide support for some of my clients without my laptop.

I do hope RIM is listening to/reading this feedback.

Why doesn't MS provide it via their partnership with RIM (Bing maps & search integration that is forthcoming per BB World)? Seems it would bein MS's best interest. It'd be nice but this is way down the totem pole of necessary feature updates. What tablet can currently run Silverlight that isn't a version of Windows?

I don't care as long as it's an optional thing and not included on all playbooks/devices. I have absolutely no interest in Silverlight. If a website/app requires it I say bye to the website/app.

What's a "full web experience" without a little Silver? I would guess its a relitivley short development cycle but what do I know...

Long live The RIMPIRE

Maybe I'm misremembering, but I thought RIM stated from the outset that they would be bringing Netflix to the PlayBook and I've been waiting for Silverlight to be implemented. YES to Silverlight!

Yeah, Silverlight support should come to the Playbook. Lot's of dutch newsmedia sites are using silverlight for streaming.

There is a moonlight for android port in the works. Hopefully that will allow sliverlight apps to work on the playbook through android. Maybe someone could try it out and let us all know.
Also, pretty poor form by MS, but I guess that wasn't a surprise.

i have a few clients who have developed applications using Silverlight and the entire community of field workers are unable to use any tablets etc to access there systems while in the field. while this may have been there oversight it does open up an opportunity for RIM to provide a slew (1000+) playbooks to there community. Yes, please make the Silverlight plug-in available on the Playbook.

I would love to have it for Sky Player and Netflix, I know I attack RIM a lot but this is why, Silverlight is obviously an important tool, if M$ wont support it for blackberry then RIM have to try an make inroads themselves, they can't just keep burying there head in the sand and disrespecting their user base this way.

I echo my other sentiments – time for massive sweeping changes at the top of RIM – they have done really well to this point but they are not competent enough to take the company further and respond to customer needs. #Lazaridis&BalsillieOutNow

In my opinion this is another must have feature on the PlayBook.

The lack of silverlight causes problems for me and I hope they reconsider their lack of support.

I run a Windows Home Server and I can't stream my media to my PB because it requires Silverlight. If they added support for remote network file access this wouldn't be such an issue for me.

I don't use netflix but a lot people do. Sky News requires Silverlight as do many other websites.

Windows Phone doesn't support Silverlight in the browser. 'Native' apps are built with silverlight, but it doesn't run in the browser.

WHY!? Why does no one recognize that there are several cases of Microsoft making statements about a shift from Silverlight!? I mean, they ditched it in their SkyDrive (http://windowsteamblog.com/windows_live/b/windowslive/archive/2011/06/20...) and there are plans for it to be implemented elsewhere.

All I can grab from the comments here are that people want their specific video streaming websites, which Silverlight is good for, but that is in no way a reason for RIM to divide development from something such as the Android Player to support Silverlight.

Please people, be more diverse in your knowledge of these technologies when you want to start a force to get RIM to do something. I honestly wouldn't expect Silverlight support and if that somehow comes to my Playbook, but BIS email does not, I will hate the loud minority.

The lack of Silverlight limits my access to some GIS viewers. This limits the use of the Playbook for me.

Bringing Silverlight to the Playbook would increase my productivity exponentially. Without Silverlight the web app which I use www.aq360.com requires Silverlight. Netflix would be great and all, but I would like to use my professional grade tablet, professionally.

Mr. K Why NOT???...it will only make berry stronger...they should take everthing they can get....the more they have to offer the more they will sell

bell's internal site uses internet explorer, thats the only that i care about personally so that i can help my customers if our computer is busy

This one's trickier than it looks, and there's some politics around it.

The uptake for Silverlight among developers has been pretty low (Netflix notwithstanding), and there's some suggestion that Microsoft itself isn't that enthused about it anymore. It's also quite possible that Adobe has done a little arm-twisting to keep RIM from supporting Silverlight as an alternative to Flash.

Personally, yes, I'd like to see it, and there's no harm in RIM showing a little love for Microsoft technologies.

Don't forget that the Olympics were streamed and broadcast using this stream, using Silverlight. Twice now. MS and RIM have a long history of colaboration so I think is either a technical issue or a political (Adobe-Flash) thing.

Too bad. My company does a lot of Silverlight development (medical field) and we had hoped to use the playbook as an access point. It is a real pain (expensive in time and resources) to have to develop for each mobile OS. It would be much better to to be able to produce a rich user experience in SIlverlight and have that available across all platforms. Doctors dream of walking around with tablets but unless the tablets support a standard then you are stuck as a developer of applications.

I have faced similar problem when i try to watch SKY TV in london, i think to make the playbook an all round internet too for both business users and social users they would need to get the silverlight add-on

I was at a store the day the PB hit the market with cash in hand ... realized that there is no Netflix support, went back home VERY DISAPPOINTED without the PB :-(
Please don't judge me for making Netflix a deal breaker -- for me its simple ... I subscribe to Netflix, travel a lot, refuse to pay for in hotel movies/mess with loading movies on a tablet/and refuse to view "pirate" versions of movies. I am looking to purchase a tablet to replace my laptop -- not for everything, but definitively it needs to be able to be my media player.
Until RIM/Netflix have this resolved, I will not purchase a Playbook ... and if this does not get resolved before my birthday in December, I will purchase another tablet.

I ***WANT*** a Playbook -- as soon as Netflix is available, I am buying one...I realize I am just one voice, but am sure that RIM would get quite a few more PB sold if they had a commercial showing users streaming Netflix using PB attached to HDTV via the mini-HDMI. Just my 2 cents ;-)

First of all, let me preface this by saying ithat I don't subscribe to Netflix and have no plans to any time soon. That being said, I am disappointed that I cannot access my favorite sire because of the lack of a Silverlight plugin for the PlayBook.

I'm a sports journalist and one of my favorite things to listen to at night are the live audio streams from the Toyota AFL Premiership for Australian Rules Football. I usually fall asleep listening to the broadcasts but it gets to be a chore to have to put my laptop in bed with me to listen. I'd prefer to use my PlayBook in bed than the laptop, but the Site uses Silverlight.

I know that there is a mobile app for the broadcasts but I can't find it, so a Silverlight plugin would work wonders.

Definitely agree - Silverlight compatibility is essential for what RIM bills as a full web experience. There are many sites using it, which means we can't access them on the PB. This is especially needed given the continuing dearth of apps for services available on Apple and Android tablets via apps for those platforms. If PB doesn't have apps for them, we have to access them via the browser, but if they're Silverlight sites then we can't even do that.

Please, please bring Silverlight to the PB.

I would like to see Silverlight come to blackberry. Doing online classes (interactively) would be a great asset to the Playbook. I stumbled across needing silverlight when trying to do my classes without a desktop. This would have been a time saver knowing I don't have to be tied to a computer to go to class. I vote for silverlight to come to the BB10 platform.

I spend at least 3 hours a day watching eurosport player through my laptop, ideally I want to watch it on my PlayBook but it requires silverlight! Please blackberry add support for this (and add Skype while you're at it)