Microsoft teams with Nokia to put Silverlight on devices

By Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service |  Mobile & Wireless

In its quest to make its Silverlight technology as ubiquitous as its competitor
Flash, Microsoft is moving
full speed ahead to promote adoption of the technology through some strategic
moves and partnerships it will highlight at its annual MIX 08 conference, including
a deal with Nokia to put
the technology on mobile devices.

Through a deal it will reveal Tuesday, Microsoft is working with mobile handset
provider Nokia to put Silverlight on wireless devices for the first time, said
Tom Honeybone, senior director in Microsoft's developer division. Silverlight
is a cross-platform plug-in that lets developers create multimedia and rich
Internet applications (RIAs) and then run them from the browser.

At MIX, Nokia plans to reveal a beta program for its runtime for Silverlight
on its Series 60 and Series 40 handsets, as well as demonstrate Silverlight
applications running on the handsets, he said. By the end of the year, Nokia
plans to ship handsets with the runtime embedded that can run Silverlight applications,
beginning first with the high-end Series 60 smartphones, Honeybone said. Silverlight
on Series 40 phones and on Nokia's tablet devices will be available thereafter.

Microsoft eventually plans to include a runtime for Silverlight in its Windows
Mobile platform, but it chose Nokia as the first company to bring Silverlight
to handsets because of that company's prominent position in the mobile handset
market, Honeybone said. "Series 60 is the clear leader, " he said.
Nokia is not currently one of Microsoft's Windows Mobile handset partners, though
there have been rumors that the company eventually will sign on to build Windows
Mobile devices alongside competitors such as Sony Ericsson and HTC.

Microsoft will be developing a portability kit so Nokia can port Silverlight
from the desktop to its mobile platform; that kit eventually will be available
to other handset providers as well, Honeybone said.

Microsoft released Silverlight 1.0 in September 2007 as a plug-in for browsers
that could work on Windows, Linux and the Mac platform. Microsoft developed
the technology to displace Adobe's Flash, which currently has about 97 percent
to 99 percent penetration on the Web as a technology for delivering multimedia
content and RIAs.

Flash also is available on wireless devices as Flash Lite; the technology is
available on more than 450 million phones, according to Adobe.

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