updated 12:20 pm EDT, Tue March 25, 2008
Microsoft iPhone software
Microsoft is considering software development for the iPhone, writes Fortune. The financial magazine notes that for over a week, a team based in Silicon Valley has been experimenting with Apple's beta SDK, which come June will let developers publish and sell native iPhone applications. Microsoft executives explain that they are not sure whether any apps will actually be put into production, but are deeply interested in the possibility. "It's really important for us to understand what we can bring to the iPhone," says Tom Gibbons, corporate VP of the Specialized Devices and Applications Group.
"To the extent that Mac Office customers have functionality that they need in that environment, we're actually in the process of trying to understand that now," he adds. Office for Mac is said by Fortune to be an extremely profitable venture for Microsoft, creating millions of dollars in revenue; overall, Mac software may be producing approximately $200 million in profit for the company annually.
The general manager of the company's TellMe voice recognition division, Mike McCue, meanwhile comments that if the SDK permits voice recording and location-based information, development projects are practically guaranteed. "If the SDK supports these things," he says, "we're absolutely going to get a version out there as soon as we can, get TellMe out there on the iPhone."
Microsoft development for the iPhone would however be somewhat contradictory, as for years it has pushed the development of its Windows Mobile platform, found on numerous smartphones and media players worldwide. The iPhone has been rapidly encroaching on marketshare however, and the company still faces tough competition from global leader Nokia, and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion.