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Why You Should Care About Chrome Dropping Silverlight Support

Posted by Henry Cheang | May 20, 2015 7:00 AM

Google’s Chrome browser has stopped support for a lot of plug-ins, including Microsoft Silverlight. Now, why does this matter to you?

Why did Chrome drop Silverlight?

Well, if you use desktops or laptops to do a lot of work using browsers, many applications are simply going to stop working if you’re a Google Chrome user. Before we get to that, we should take a quick step back and look at the bigger picture first.

The big picture on why Chrome is dropping plug-in support

So, just to be sure we’re all on the same page, I should mention that a plug-in is an element of a software program that we add following initial installation so that the base program gets more features. For most of us, adding plug-ins is how we make our web browsers much more powerful.

In the case of the Microsoft Silverlight plug-in, we would install it so that browsers can display a full range of content and business applications. Silverlight lets users access a diverse array of graphics, streaming video, audio, and much more.

So why is Google Chrome dropping support for it?

Well, the short answer is that Google is dropping support to a whole class of plug-ins to which Silverlight belongs. This plug-in class, known as NPAPI, is an old class of plug-in, and Google is taking away support in favour of newer technology.

In fact, Google has been planning on stopping support for NPAPI since 2013. Since then, Chrome had already been blocking most NPAPI plugins. Mac users of Chrome were the first to be really affected, since Google dropped support for them first.

However, starting in April of this year, Google really started blocking NPAPI on everything else. At this point, the only people left who can make even limited use of this set of plugins will be developers, and even that level of support will be gone by this September. This fall, Chrome support for Silverlight and other such plugins will be gone for good. It’s never coming back. 

Microsoft will support Silverlight for 6 more years

Microsoft is taking a very distinct route from Google, where Silverlight is concerned. The company will be supporting the plug-in through 2021. Setting aside the fact that they own the plug-in, there’s also the simple fact that Silverlight is very, very useful. That’s why Microsoft will keep putting out updates and patches to Silverlight that will allow it to be a big part of Internet Explorer for the next 6 years.

What that means is that programs which need Silverlight to run can still be used on other non-Chrome browsers. This includes Firefox. This is good news for business and government users, many of whom still need Silverlight to do their work.

Coming back to Cimpl’s products and services, we took a long view to making things future-proof. That’s why we were the first company in our industry to make IT and telecom expense management (TEM) software using HTML5 for maximum compatibility and adaptability across as many platforms and form factors as possible. In so doing, we’ll be able to avoid the problems of restricted browser choice that Google has created.

If you’re a Cimpl customer, and you’re unsure how you might be affected, drop us a line!

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Topics: Technical Support, Tips and Tricks, Best Practices

Written by Henry Cheang

Henry is a dedicated technical writer, focused on conducting market research, contributing to product design, and writing clear and concise documentation for the company. He is an enthusiastic team member and is passionate about science and technology, who plays a key role in Cimpl’s product messaging. His dedication to writing is reflected in his experience in authoring academic papers, documentation, user guides, and in contributing to Cimpl’s marketing efforts.

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