If the rumors about IBM buying Sun weren’t enough, this news should prove once and for we live in interesting times: Silverlight has made its way to YouTube. It’s used on the CBS March Madness channel, and the feeds themselves are not served by Google, but it is an interesting development nonetheless.

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Up until now, Google has always used Adobe’s Flash player, but several large companies are switching to Microsoft’s alternative. It is said to provide a better user experience, and from the streams I’ve seen so far that appears to be true. There even appears to be a serious effort to support Linux users via the Moonlight project.

What’s even more surprising is that, at least according to some statistics, Silverlight is now installed on almost 25% of all browsers. That means it is also getting more interesting for smaller sites; I’m sure most sports fans will install Silverlight if it’s needed to watch their favorite game, but smaller websites can easily lose visitors if they choose a more exotic technology. If Microsoft manages to get the installed base above 50% Adobe will have to work very hard to deliver a better version of Flash!

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