Silverlight for iPhone next? Not quite, says Ballmer

By Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service |  Mobile & Wireless

Could Silverlight be the next Microsoft technology to work on the iPhone? Don't
bet on it anytime soon, said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Speaking in Las Vegas at the MIX 08 conference on Thursday, Ballmer said Microsoft
wants to get its Silverlight technology, which allows developers to build and
deliver multimedia applications on the Web, "everywhere," and that
putting it on the iPhone is certainly "interesting."

"I can't say there has been extensive discussion" with Apple
CEO Steve Jobs about it, Ballmer said.

He said he was concerned about Apple's plan, unveiled Thursday, to let developers
sell applications for the iPhone on iTunes and take a 30 percent cut of revenues.
Ballmer suggested that Apple might charge Microsoft similarly to get Silverlight
on the iPhone, though there is so far no evidence to support this belief.

"It sure seems like they're trying to charge a whole lot more money for
it," he said. "Maybe Apple isn't welcoming open and royalty-free runtimes
on it."

Ballmer's comments about the iPhone were made in response to an audience question
during a keynote address at Microsoft's third annual conference for Web developers.
The question was framed by news not only about iPhone applications, but also
because on Thursday, Apple revealed it has licensed Microsoft's ActiveSync technology
for the iPhone. ActiveSync allows e-mail to be pushed directly to mobile devices
from Microsoft's Exchange Server.

Microsoft also this week revealed plans to build the first Silverlight mobile
runtime with Nokia. The Finland-based mobile handset provider plans to deliver
a Silverlight runtime on its Series 60 smartphones by the end of the year, and
its Series 40 phones thereafter.

Microsoft unveiled Silverlight last year to compete with Adobe's
Flash multimedia runtime and player; however, Microsoft has optimized Silverlight
for high-definition video content in particular. The company said this week
that Silverlight is logging about 1.5 million downloads per day, which includes
downloads spurred by Microsoft running Silverlight on its own Web sites and
for company Webcasts.

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