Apple's Steve Jobs to share WWDC stage with Microsoft CEO Ballmer?

Financial analyst says Ballmer to tout Visual Studio 2010 at Apple developers event

Apple's sold-out Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco next month could turn out to be a real Steve-fest, with one financial industry analyst generating buzz today through speculation that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (check out his emoticons!) will share the stage with Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

2010 has really been the Year of Steve Jobs, between his dramatic comeback from illness, introduction of the iPad and high profile spat with Adobe over the lack of Flash support on Apple products.

But according to a report in Barron's, financial analyst Trip Chowdhry says Ballmer will get a few minutes to yap about Microsoft's new Visual Studio 2010 and its support for building native apps for Apple iPhones, iPads and the Mac OS. A less glamorous possibility: Microsoft server and tools chief Bob Muglia might be the one to make the pitch.

The speculation surfaced a day after Apple surpassed Microsoft as the world's most valuable tech firm, with its market cap rising to $223 billion, about $3.5 billion higher than Microsoft's as of May 26.

Also this week, Microsoft announced a management reshuffling, including the departure of the head of its group overseeing the Zune, Xbox and mobile phones. Microsoft is seen as shaking things up in these areas as it makes a renewed effort to battle Apple here.

The Apple WWDC has been a hotbed of rumors, with even the timing and location of the June 7-11 event being kept secret until early May.

Since then, industry watchers have been guessing what Apple might do at the event, with most expecting the iPhone 4G (or whatever it will be called) surfacing. Of course the whole situation with lost/stolen iPhone 4Gs being found in recent weeks has been its own drama. Some industry watchers also expect there could be news at WWDC regarding the iPhone's future on Verizon's network.

CEO Steve Jobs is expected to take the lead on presenting new products at the event. Apple has been mighty busy of late revealing new offerings, including its new iPhone 4.0 software

No word on whether the Daily Show's Jon Stewart or comic/TV talk show host Ellen Degeneres might have been invited to join the WWDC speaker line-up, in light of their recent rants/parodies of Apple and its products.

Apple's sessions at WWDC will fall into such categories as Application Frameworks, Core OS, Developer Tools, Graphics and Media, and Internet & Web. 

It's clear that much focus will be put on the iPhone and iPad, with the Mac and Mac OS X taking perhaps a back seat (the Apple Design Awards will be limited to iPhone and iPad apps).

Networking sessions will focus on "creating reliable, secure, high-performance solutions for mobile applications." Security sessions will focus on defending apps from malicious attacks

WWDC also features many hands-on labs.

Coincidence or not, Microsoft is also holding its annual Tech Ed event the same week, though it will be held in New Orleans. So if Ballmer and/or Muglia is to appear at WWDC, they'll have a bit of traveling to do if they want to show at Tech Ed as well.

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Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.