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Microsoft teases mobile developers with 'big' Silverlight deals

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ReMix 08 Microsoft aims to nail deals with major handset on Silverlight in the next few months, taking the media player software beyond the beachhead it has established with Nokia.

The company today said its goal is for "big" deals with manufacturers porting Silverlight to and distributing Silverlight with Windows and non-Windows mobile devices.

Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of Microsoft's developer division, told the company's ReMix 08 conference the goal is to run Silverlight "everywhere".

He did not name names, but promised more deals in the months ahead.

That's a standard vendor-type promise, of course. And Microsoft is in classic new-technology evangelism mode, encouraging developers to adopt Silverlight with the promise of a target market. It sees ubiquity as key to Silverlight's success, and it is gunning for the player and its runtime to match Adobe Systems' Flash in market- and mind-share and on PC and mobile platforms.

Ubiquity has potential for mobile apps developers in a hardware- and standards-fragmented market. "The benefit is you write your application to Silverlight, stick it on a web server, and now you can go ahead and target these devices," Guthrie said.

Judging by the ReMix crowd at Microsoft's Silicon Valley conference, this message is attracting some serious interest. Representatives from SAP, the archetypal enterprise software firm, were among the attendees.

Last month Nokia, a life-long Windows hold-out, was the first handset manufacturer to endorse Silverlight earlier this year. Nokia agreed to embed the software in S60 devices running Symbian, and will later add the player to low-end S40 handsets and to Nokia internet tablets.

Guthrie, meanwhile, outlined plans for more template-based development in Silverlight 2.0, currently in beta and due this year. The goal is to increase from 40 to 100 the number of customizable controls either bundled with Silverlight or available for download, and used to build interfaces.

These will cover input, networking, charging, data and "tons of other UI scenarios to allow an advanced product-development environment," he said. ®

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