Microsoft software engineers have been pouring over the iPhone SDK released earlier this month with the hopes of building software for the ultra-hot gadget, reports Fortune magazine. For over a decade, the Mac group within Microsoft has been porting Windows apps to the Mac, so why should the iPhone not also be privileged to become a platform for Microsoft apps? E-mail would be the most likely initial Microsoft app, the article predicts.
With the Mac Business Unit, Microsoft has long prided itself on having one of the largest groups of Mac developers outside of Apple. With that expertise in Mac software, and knowledge of the Microsoft Exchange protocols the iPhone will use for business e-mail, the chances are good that Microsoft will be able to develop extra iPhone goodies.
Then again, the article points out, another good fit for Microsoft/iPhone software is voice recognition from Microsoft's recently acquisition TellMe, (which has reportedly escaped micromanagement from Redmond and operates fairly independently.)
If Microsoft does indeed launch its iPhone wares with e-mail, it might have a chance of success. An awful lot of iPhone users are eager to securely tap into their corporate Exchange servers. But Microsoft had better hurry. Apple's support of Exchange is already an anticipated part of iPhone 2.0 (the beta of which went out earlier this month.) Apple expects to ship the new 2.0 software as a free update to iPhone customers in late June. In that 2.0 software, Apple licensed ActiveSync, which will allow iPhone users to securely synch the iPhone with an Exchange e-mail and calendar, etc.. Maybe, if Microsoft was planning on offering another version of Exchange synch software, it would do an integration with Exchange "better" meaning tap into a larger number of Exchange's fancy new features like presence.
Besides e-mail and voice control software, are there other apps that Microsoft could create for the iPhone that would appeal to the largely Mac fan base of iPhone users? iPhone versions of Microsoft's popular games, perhaps. Or maybe an Office productivity suite (taking on iZoho who has already tackled that challenge)?
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Julie Bort is the editor of Microsoft Subnet and Network World's Online Community Editor. She also writes the Open Source Subnet blog and is the editor responsible for the Cisco Subnet and Open Source Subnet web sites. If you have an idea for a blog, or a news tip on Microsoft, Cisco or Open Source technologies, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, 970-482-6454 or follow Julie on Twitter @Julie188.
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