Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it will discontinue investment in the Bing Maps 3D control plug-in.
The Bing Maps 3D control plug-in allows users to see Microsoft’s “Bird’s eye” view which includes smooth zooming/panning, life-like building models and 3D-like terrain features. The 45-degree perspective was introduced in Bing’s Silverlight client last year. Microsoft said on Tuesday that the Bird’s Eye view will be available “very soon” without plug-ins and at scale with Bing’s AJAX map control and on the Bing.com/maps website. Users will no longer require Silverlight to experience Bird’s eye.
“With the new capabilities available in Bing.com/maps, the growth in Silverlight use, and the future with HTML5, we have also heard that customers want the best experience for the most people, without custom plugins for individual features. We have designed the new enhanced Bird’s eye with this in mind, so that the enhanced experience is accessible by users across technologies and platforms including desktop and mobile,” said Brian Hendricks, Bing Maps manager.
Hendricks says that as a consequence of making Bing Maps Bird’s Eye view available across all platforms, “we will be discontinuing investment in the Bing Maps 3D control plug-in.” Microsoft says it will phase out the 3D Maps plug-in in the coming weeks as the new version comes online at Bing.com/maps.
The timing of Microsoft’s Bing Maps announcement is uncanny. The company has been responding to controversy over Bob Muglia’s comments to ZDnet’s Mary Jo Foley that Microsoft will be abandoning Silverlight in favour of HTML5. Muglia confirmed that the company’s strategy and focus for Silverlight has shifted. Microsoft will now focus on HTML5 as its cross-platform strategy.
Update: Title corrected as Microsoft may not be fully removing the Silverlight Bing Maps featured just yet, only shifting them to AJAX.