2009 has come to a close… and what a year it was for the Silverlight team! From the launch of Silverlight 3 and Expression 3 in July, to the live broadcasts of major events like Wimbledon and the Michael Jackson Memorial Broadcast, to the new Silverlight 4 beta released in November, we’ve definitely helped customers raise the bar when it comes to delivering visually stunning and immersive user experiences, both on and off the Web.

Considering all the action in the Silverlight world in 2009, we thought we’d take a walk down memory lane and highlight some of our biggest announcements from this year. Based on feedback from the community – as well as input from our own team on the things we are most proud of – here’s the 2009 Top 10 for Silverlight:

1. Microsoft SDK for Facebook

As the most talked-about social media network in 2009, it’s no surprise that our work with Facebook was one of the most popular announcements of the year. In April, we gave a first look at a new WPF and Silverlight Facebook application, built on the Facebook Open Streams API. And in November at PDC, we released the Microsoft SDK for Facebook and unveiled the final, complete Silverlight application.

2. Silverlight 3 and Expression 3 Launch

Only a few months after giving developers and designers the first peek at Silverlight 3 during MIX’09 in March, we launched the final version of both Silverlight 3 and Expression 3 to a packed crowd in San Francisco on July 10. What caught the audience’s eye? SketchFlow, a groundbreaking prototyping tool for designers; IIS Smooth Streaming, which enables HD quality video to Silverlight-based media players; and Silverlight’s new – and extremely slick – out-of-browser capabilities.

3. Silverlight 4 Beta

Following right on the heels of the release of Silverlight 3, Scott Guthrie shocked the PDC audience during his Day 2 keynote when he announced the availability of Silverlight 4 beta. Full of new capabilities that enable improved enterprise media scenarios and “beyond the browser” experiences, we’re looking forward to seeing what amazing new experiences developers will create with Silverlight 4.

4. NASA

In May, NASA launched Silverlight-powered Photosynths of the International Space Station and a model of the new Mars Science Lab. NASA is using the “synths” to provide public education on their work projects.

5. Netflix & Windows Media Center

Also in May, Microsoft announced support for Netflix in Windows Media Center. Netflix already selected Silverlight to power their ‘Watch Instantly’ service, and integration with Windows Media Center brought better navigation and access to more content, all with the same high quality Silverlight experience that customers were already using.

6. Wimbledon

For the first time, live online streaming coverage of The Championships at Wimbledon was made widely available in the U.S., powered by Silverlight. Using IIS Smooth Streaming, Silverlight’s HD quality broadcast brought tennis fans closer to the action than they’d ever been before.

7. An Emmy Win!

NBC’s online coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics was one of the largest, most monumental challenges a broadcaster has ever faced. After delivering every minute of every event in HD quality video with Silverlight, NBC received an Emmy for “Outstanding New Approaches in Sports Event Coverage” in recognition of the team’s outstanding technical and quality achievement.

8. IIS Smooth Streaming at NAB09

In April, we attended the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Conference in Las Vegas where we announced the availability of Internet Information Services (IIS) Smooth Streaming, which enables the broadcast of 1080p HD quality video to Silverlight-based media players. In addition we showcased HTTP-based “adaptive streaming” and highlighted strong industry momentum with customers like NBC, RAI and TV2 and several CDN’s, encoding vendors and DRM ASPs.

9. Michael Jackson Memorial Broadcast

In July, the world was struck by the loss of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Silverlight delivered worldwide, HD coverage of Michael Jackson’s memorial service on July 7, helping fans everywhere mark this significant moment in music history.

10. Silverlight Powers Bing Visual Search & Bing Maps Control

In September at TechCrunch 50, we showed off the Silverlight-powered Bing Visual Search experience, which allows users to visualize their online shopping experience like never before through hundreds of image galleries. Shortly thereafter, in November at TechEd Europe, we announced the launch of Bing Maps Silverlight Control, a rich platform for developers to build interactive mapping applications that provide an unprecedented level of performance and visual enhancement.

2010 is looking to be an even bigger year for Silverlight, but we’ll have more on that in the coming months. In the meantime, what do you think of our selections for 2009? Is there something else we should have included on this list?