According to RIAStats, a version of Silverlight is now detected on more than half of the browsers sampled! This is a telling milestone as installations of Silverlight continue to grow – drawing inexorably closer to that of Adobe Flash which currently enjoys installations on around 97% of browsers.
If you look at the graphic, and you consider the “not detected” section, it reads 49.99%, which means that the sum of those detected is better than half.
At PDC 2009 in November, Scott Guthrie announced that Silverlight penetration was up to around 45%, up from around 30% in the summer. These RIAStats numbers feel in line with that.
Of course, I know this doesn’t “prove” Silverlight is really on more than 50% of browsers, as RIAStats are not a perfect reflection of the web as a whole, but it seems an interesting milestone nonetheless.
Silverlight has been in the wild for 863 days: Silverlight was released for real (RTW, or “released to web”) on 05-Sep-2007, followed thirteen months later by Silverlight 2 RTW 14-Oct-2008, then less than nine months later we saw Silverlight 3 on 09-July-2009. Silverlight 4 is in beta – maybe Microsoft will announce its release at MIX10 in mid-March? If they do, that would be on a similar release rhythm as from Silverlight 2 to Silverlight 3.
Silverlight’s installed base will also get another boost from the 2010 Winter Olympics next month as well. (And Silverlight 2 shipped shortly after the 2008 Summer Olympics.)
It is interesting to note that another tracking site – StatOwl.com – not only shows the penetration lower – and doesn’t agree on any of the numbers – but also doesn’t even agree on relative installed base across versions [EDIT: after Comment from Travis Collins, added in Silverlight 4 = 0.04 for RIAStats]:
|Silverlight 4 (beta)
||0.04 (<1 pixel)
||not shown, or 0%
I’m not sure why they don’t agree – perhaps differences in sample sizes, sampling methodology, or due to different audiences being sampled.
Also, if you check the math yourself, you’ll see the values shown don’t tie down perfectly for RIAStats (though they do for StatOwl); if you add up the individual Silverlight versions along with the Undetected, you won’t get exactly 100%. Some sort of rounding errors I assume. [EDIT: See explanation in Comment from Travis Collins, RIAStats creator.] But I also assume that the Undetected = 49.99% is most likely right (at least not wrong due to a rounding error, since it is harder to round wrong there).
EDIT 01-Feb-2010: Found an interesting, relevant post on Cool facts about Silverlight penetration / mindshare from UXPassion.com.