March 17, 2008, 9:58 AM — In addition to its own Silverlight
multimedia technology, Microsoft
will support Adobe's competing
on Windows Mobile phones, the companies planned to announce on Monday.
Microsoft has licensed Adobe Flash Lite, the Flash Player runtime for mobile
devices, so that Windows Mobile phone users can view Flash content in the Internet
Explorer Mobile browser. Microsoft has also licensed the Adobe Reader LE software,
so that Windows Mobile users will be able to view PDF documents.
The announcement means Windows Mobile phones will support both Flash and Silverlight,
Microsoft's own fledgling technology that lets developers build multimedia Internet
applications that run in browsers.
Microsoft hasn't yet said when it will add the support for Silverlight to Windows
Mobile, and nor is it saying when it plans to support the Adobe programs, said
Scott Rockfeld, group product manager at Microsoft's Windows Mobile group.
The companies have some integration work ahead of them. "The engineers
have to work together to integrate the technology, and then the platforms have
to be distributed to OEMs," said Anup Murarka, director of technical marketing
for mobile and devices at Adobe. Adobe hopes that the capabilities will be found
in phones by the end of the year, "but that's something Microsoft would
have to comment on," he said.
Having both Silverlight and Adobe Flash on Windows Mobile is a natural, Rockfeld
said. "From a Windows Mobile perspective it comes down to choice,"
he said. "Flash and Silverlight can provide similar experiences, just like
we see in other areas." For example, Microsoft's Live
Search and Google Maps,
which offer similar services, are both accessible from Windows Mobile phones,
Regardless of which technology users are most drawn to -- Silverlight or Flash
-- the technologies both enable the types of multimedia content that phone users
are interested in, said Julie Ask, an analyst with Jupiter Research. Her research
shows that consumers who have phones that support rich browsing experiences,
like the iPhone and some Nokia phones, generate more page views and are more
likely to sign up for a data plan with their operator, she said.
"Adding Flash into the user experience on the phone will make it a better
one, a richer media experience," Ask said.