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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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March 5, 2008 12:44 PM

Mix: Could Microsoft Silverlight be coming to the Apple iPhone?

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Update, 3:50 p.m.: In the post below, I speculated about a possible iPhone-Silverlight pairing, that, not surprisingly, is a possibility -- but there's no announcement coming here at Mix or at Apple's iPhone SDK event tomorrow in Cuptertino, according to Scott Guthrie, vice president of Microsoft's .NET developer division.

"Obviously, there's a lot of people, including people from Adobe and Microsoft, that are going to be tuning in to watch [Apple's event tomorrow]," Guthrie said. "Ultimately Apple does control the iPhone and the experience of the iPhone, so the options of what we can do will, to some extent, be dictated by them much more than us. Certainly from our strategy perspective, we'd like to be able to run Silverlight everywhere that has any kind of marketshare."

He said his statement earlier today that Microsoft wants to get Silverlight on "everything that has an SDK [software development kit]" was "more a statement of desire as opposed to any particular plan."

Here's my original post:

LAS VEGAS -- Microsoft's keynote program at Mix dragged on for three hours two and a half hours (seemed longer), but I'm glad I stayed until the end.

Scott Guthrie, vice president of Microsoft's .NET developer division, wrapped up the presentation by saying it's Microsoft's goal to get Silverlight installed on as many mobile phones as possible, regardless of whether they're using the Windows Mobile operating system -- "everything that has an SDK [software development kit]." Silverlight is Microsoft's new online platform for running video and rich Internet applications.

Hmmm. Tomorrow, Apple is holding an event to highlight the availability of its SDK for the hot-selling iPhone, which has eclipsed Windows Mobile devices in market share since it hit the market last summer.

And since Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs told Adobe that Flash Lite -- a mobile-focused version of the dominant Adobe product that Silverlight competes with -- wasn't going to fly on the iPhone, it begs the question of what will? It's not like there are a ton of choices.

"[S]ome believed Apple would release iPhone software tools [Thursday] that could be used to add Flash to the iPhone," according to this Dow Jones story. See additional coverage here and all over, really.

While an Apple rejection wouldn't be a "death blow" to Adobe's efforts, Robert Scoble says the development "certainly does cripple their chances against Microsoft's Silverlight."

Is it a coincidence that tomorrow Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is taking the stage here at Mix with Guy Kawasaki -- the famous Apple evangelist (who has long since left the company) -- for a Q&A session?

Guthrie highlighted the company's recent successes in moving Silverlight to mobile devices. On Tuesday, Nokia, the world's largest cellphone manufacturer, announced that it will preinstall the software on its Series 60, Series 40 and Internet-tablet devices this year. Nokia phones use the Symbian operating system.

I'm speaking with Guthrie in about two hours and I plan to ask him directly about any plans to get Silverlight on the iPhone. I'll update this post with his response.

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Posted by Kim

2:44 PM, Mar 05, 2008

I don't know, it's so unusual that Jobs would bash a partner in public like this. Apple seems like its blaming Adobe for its own issues, frankly.

Still, I don't think an Adobe rejection equals a Silverlight nod. Too many heads would explode if that were to happen.

Good post, Ben. Very thoughtful.

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