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iNET Arrives, Where's Silverlight for Mobile?

A frequent question that developers ask Microsoft is whether the company has any plans to get Silverlight on the iPhone. Someone hit Scott Guthrie with this question during his Linked In .NET Users Group online talk late last month. Guthrie said, "Right now we don't have anything to announce."

Guthrie went on to point out that there are some cool games in Apple's AppStore that were built using Mono, the open source UNIX version of .NET. "It's possible right now to do .NET development," he said during the Linked In chat. "It is not really fully .NET --- but it is possible to use C# and .NET to build iPhone apps today."

That's why, it wasn't too surprising earlier this week, when Miguel de Icaza, the lead on the Mono Project, and his team at Novell released MonoTouch for building iPhone and iPod Touch apps for the AppStore. Unlike the open source Mono Project, MonoTouch is a commercial tool. It requires a Mac, the iPhone SDK and integrates with MonoDevelop, an ASP.NET and C# IDE. MonoTouch is licensed at $399 for the Personal Edition. Some Twitter comments bemoaned the steep price and suggested that "Professional" might be more fitting than Personal Edition. There was also some discussion of a hidden message in the MonoTouch logo—some people spied what looked like a middle finger--and the logo was quickly updated. News editor Jeff Schwartz interviewed de Icaza this week to get more details about MonoTouch and how to use it. Read his story, "Tool Opens Windows on the iPhone."

Guthrie fielded another question during his Linked In online talk, when a participant asked if there were any compelling reasons to use Silverlight for Windows Mobile. "It is something that we have been hard at work on," Guthrie said. "I've personally been involved in the mobile space for about nine months and do run the Silverlight for Mobile team now," he explained and acknowledged the wait for the platform. "We will have some compelling stuff to talk about…I think when we do come out, it is a very good story and an awesome developer story."

More than 1 in 3 Internet connected devices, already have Silverlight deployed, according to Microsoft, but Silverlight for Mobile, despite an agreement to offer it with Nokia S60/Symbian and S40 devices, an announcement made in March of 2008, has yet to appear. According to Microsoft's Silverlight for Mobile Web site, it will be based on Silverlight 2 and it is expected this year.

Developers are probably safe asking Guthrie just about anything, but Steve Ballmer does not hide his animosity towards the iPhone. As Todd Bishop reported in his TechFlash blog earlier this month another Ballmer incident occurred at a private company meeting:

"As the story goes, it happened when Ballmer was making his big entrance -- slapping hands, running around, and generally whooping things up, as is his tradition at these events. That was when he spotted someone at field level, allegedly a member of the Windows group, using an iPhone to take his picture.

Ballmer grabbed the Apple device from the employee and made some funny remarks as everyone booed. Then he put it on the ground and pretended to stomp on it, before walking away."

Express your thoughts on MonoTouch and the iPhone, Silverlight for Mobile and Microsoft's slow to market approach. Can they get there from here or is your company betting elsewhere? Comment below or drop me a line at [email protected]

Posted by Kathleen Richards on 09/15/2009 at 1:15 PM

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