Silverlight Market Penetration

8 03 2010

Filed under penetration

(This topic has an update. To see Microsofts official response on just the numbers, see this post on MIX10 Day 1 Keynote)

Let me start by saying that I love the site It’s a highly customizable site with information on the adoption rate of Flash, Silverlight and Java in different countries, browsers and OS:s.

After the jump, we’ll look at some stats for Silverlight.


Global Market Penetration (GMP)

At the middle of 2009, Silverlight enjoyed a 30% GMP according to Microsoft. At last years PDC this figure had risen to 45% according to Scott Guthrie. I also made a small blurb about this at the time.

Now in March, RIAstats reports GMP rates of 60% for Windows 7 users and a whopping 65.7% for Windows Vista users. If Silverlight keeps gaining market presence at this rate, the goal of near 100% market penetration should be achieved during 2010.

GMPWindows7 GMP Vista

Optimal conditions


While these numbers are more or less even the modern world over, there seems to be a slight higher adoption rate in the Nordic region. Even though operating system seems to be the biggest divider, both Sweden, Denmark and Norway sport high GMPs regardless of OS. Norway leads the charge with a 70% GMP over all available Operating Systems (79% on Vista).

There is a good chance that Norway will be one of the first countries to achieve full Silverlight permeation.


Providing that 2010 is the year in which Silverlight installation ceases to be an issue and starts being an expected state, we need to start asking different questions. Questions such as which are the new expectations services such as Grooveshark, Facebook, Pixlr and Flickr should have of their browser plugin. Silverlight today outdoes Flash in functionality, maintainability and security. Flash was never meant to be an all purpose web development platform and the last years has shown that it certainly is not.

The security risks that Flash poses is a post in itself but I leave you with a quote from security expert Charlie Miller which in a recent interview answered the question which the safest OS/Browser combination was as follows:

“That’s a good question. Chrome or IE8 on Windows 7 with no Flash installed. There probably isn’t enough difference between the browsers to get worked up about. The main thing is not to install Flash!”

MIX10 Update

This Saturday, I leave for MIX10 in fabulous Las Vegas. I’ll be updating Fragile Development as often as my schedule allows. Please make sure to tune in on Monday for the first pieces of coverage.





10 responses

19 03 2010
Mix Day One – Keynote « Fragile Development

[…] seems I was fairly close on target with my post on Silverlight Market Penetration last week. One of the first announcements was that since GDC, Silverlight had seen an increase from […]

14 04 2010
Flash Faces Down Threats on Adobe’s Big Day | Tech Alps

[…] a level of quality roughly on par with Flash, doesn’t have the same penetration (it’s closer to 30 to 40 percent Update: the post I previously linked to was outdated, and according to Microsoft’s April […]

14 04 2010
Guy Morton

You must be joking…100% penetration means all windows 7 and vista users have it? macs? linux? windows XP? does no-one use these other OSes, in your view?

14 04 2010
Viktor Larsson

Let me first straighten out a common misconception, Silverlight works excellent on Macintosh in several browsers. That said, let’s address your question on numbers;
Using the term “100% penetration” is very risky indeed. I don’t believe we’ll ever see 100% penetration for either Silverlight or Flash. What I think could be feasible would be a near 100% penetration. This could mean a global market penetration of ~90% or a higher number on machines with Windows 7. To see these numbers at the end of 2010 would be great, but whether or not it’ll happen is still unsure.

Thank you for taking the time to commment.

14 04 2010
Flash Faces Down Threats on Adobe’s Big Day - Programming Blog

[…] a level of quality roughly on par with Flash, doesn’t have the same penetration (it’s closer to 30 to 40 percent), and there are far fewer sites using Silverlight as their sole video […]

13 05 2010

I am really fascinated where everyone seems to be gettting their Silverlight stats. We are itching to redevelop large e-commerce booking engines in Silverlight but to date with our own internal tracking system, only 32% of retail Mum & Dad users have it installed on their machines. We have very high traffic and many unique visitors so the average is fairly acurate….well for our sector anyway. We have scratched Silverlight for 2010 and are targetting 2011/2012 if ever. Why can’t Microsoft force Silverlight out through automatic updates instead of leaving as optional update?????

14 05 2010
Viktor Larsson

Hello Nick!

Your question is a valid one, and one I asked myself a year ago. Why not make Silverlight pre-installed with both Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 8? And believe me, by that time I used just as many question marks as you do. The reason is that Microsoft fears another anti-trust lawsuit if they try to include Silverlight in this way. With the (don’t quote me on these numbers) one billion dollars they had to pay last time, I don’t see them anxious to stir that hornet’s nest again.
I think the way Silverlight is distributed today is great since it’s the first thing you’re adviced to install when you use Windows Update. I hope to see even higher numbers later this year. If you didn’t see it already, Scott Guthrie announced at MIX10 in march that Silverlight is now at a global penetration of 60%. Good luck with your site!

14 05 2010

Hi Viktor,

Thanks for the updated comment. I respect their need to stay away from anit-trust however they may be able to force updates out to certain countries within which they can achieve this. Again with Scott’s stats, I could almost guarantee that the 60% is comprised mostly from websites which receive a higher proportion of hits by software developers who are more likely to experiment with new tech like Silverlight. Our sites are travel booking sites where we are receiving actual travel bookings and payments from thousands of unique visitors a week from all over the globe ranging from home users to corporate users. Yet our stats for May 2010 are sitting at 32%. We have quite advanced and custom built tracking systems and the stats on our own sites are pretty solid. However, our Silverlight figure is sitting at half of what Scott is indicating. Just a suggestion that 60% is far from a true figure for your average user. The fact Microsoft still use more Flash on their own retail website indicates that Silverlight is not ready for retail use due to the low installation peneration rate. 60% estimate is a good marketing stunt if you ask me~

17 05 2010

Hi Viktor,

Well this is a little embarrasing…. I was viewing an incorrect statistics figure and the install rate is actually 83.5% of all users that hit our sites. Wow. Spoke too soon above. Though 92% are sitting with Silverlight 3 for now. Looks like Silverlight is back on the possible technology list.

16 04 2011
Colette Moates

Magnificent website. Lots of helpful information here. I¡¦m sending it to a few buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks in your effort!

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