Microsoft unveils Silverlight, takes on Adobe

SEATTLE, April 15 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. MSFT.O, the world's largest software maker, unveiled on Sunday a new online media platform called Silverlight to challenge Adobe Systems Inc.'s ADBE.O dominant Flash player.

Microsoft Silverlight works on most Web browsers including Apple Inc.'s AAPL.O Safari and Mozilla's FireFox. The company sees the plug-in as a platform for rich interactive applications, or Web programs that run like desktop computer software.

Silverlight, which will be demonstrated at the National Association of Broadcasters conference, allows content providers to deliver games, videos and animation over the Web in a dynamic way with advanced graphics.

Microsoft is trying to move into the graphic design and animation tool software business with a new set of programs called Microsoft Expression suite, a rival to Adobe’s Creative Suite 3 software.

Adobe has dominated the market with its Flash software.

Using Silverlight, Microsoft aims to appeal to content companies with lower costs for media delivery, because it integrates with existing Web technology. It is also compatible with Windows Media format.

Microsoft has signed up Major League Baseball and Netflix Inc. NFLX.O to support the technology.