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Microsoft Launches Silverlight 4 & Version 4 .Net Framework

Microsoft is ready with the final versions of its Visual Studio 2010 developer tools software and Silverlight 4, as well as version 4 of the .Net Framework.

The company is announcing the launch of the three products on Monday at a Visual Studio developer conference in Las Vegas. Visual Studio 2010 and the updated .Net Framework are now broadly available, Microsoft said, while Silverlight 4 will be made available for download later this week.

"We're excited to celebrate the launch of Visual Studio 2010 with developers around the world today," Server and Tools unit President Bob Muglia said in a statement. "The functionality of Visual Studio 2010, .Net Framework 4, and Silverlight 4 creates a powerful and unique combination, opening up new opportunities for developers to build applications that take advantage of new and existing devices, as well as emerging platforms like cloud services."

The new version of Visual Studio includes a TiVo-like function for tracking how a program behaves, a feature now called IntelliTrace. Visual Studio 2010 also includes support for Windows 7 and Windows Azure, as well as tools for building on top of Microsoft's Sharepoint product.

Microsoft had originally planned to release Visual Studio 2010 on March 22, but delayed the launch by a few weeks to resolve some performance issues.

As for the Silverlight update, it adds improved out-of-the-browser capabilities, among other enhancements. Despite some glitches--and a notable falling-out with Major League Baseball, Microsoft's Flash rival has been on a bit of a roll, including its use by NBC for the Vancouver Olympics as well as Microsoft's decision to make it one of the main ways to write applications for Windows Phone 7.

Microsoft offered the first details on Silverlight 4 last September and demonstrated it and released a beta version at last November's Professional Developer Conference. A near-final "release candidate" for Silverlight 4 was shared at the Mix 10 event last month.

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