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Microsoft intends to attempt to persuade Palm developers over to PocketPC next week with the promise of free food and booze.

The software giant is hosting an invite-only developers' dinner just down the road from the Palm coders' conference, PalmSource, being held in Santa Clara on Wednesday, according to a Cnet report.

MS' plan, part of a PocketPC developer drive begun three months ago, is all about expanding the range of apps available on Windows CE-based devices. Palm's developer community, with its many third-party apps, is a good source. MS' argument is that, since much of the code-creation work has been done, porting shouldn't take much time and will open developers' apps to a new market.

Maybe. Another Microsoft line is that "Pocket PC is running a flavour of Windows which has more than five million developers already… So when developers are ready, much of the leg work is already done", according to Ed Suwanjindar, MS' mobile devices division product manager. But if it's so easy, why have so few of those developers ported their Windows 9x apps to CE?

For its part, Palm remains unconcerned. "We're not surprised they're doing it," said COO Alan Kessler. "They only have a few developers, and they want more... Most of our developers have already looked at Pocket PC, and they know what it is." ®

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