Ever since the release of the iPhone developer kit, software companies everywhere have been trying to figure out just what they might be able to bring to the device.
The list of interested parties includes Microsoft.
“It’s really important for us to understand what we can bring to the iPhone,” Tom Gibbons, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Specialized Devices and Applications Group, said in an interview with Fortune. “To the extent that Mac Office customers have functionality that they need in that environment, we’re actually in the process of trying to understand that now.”
Asked for further comment, a representative for Microsoft’s Mac business unit told News.com the company is “excited to see improved and updated products and services for its customers” but had nothing to announce as far as its roadmap.
Microsoft clearly has some priorities to juggle here. The company would most like to compete with the iPhone with its Windows Mobile smartphones (as well as its recent Danger acquisition). But other of the company’s initiatives, including Windows Live and Office, would benefit from being ubiquitously available.
The software maker has already said it would like to find a way to get its Silverlight onto the iPhone, and, of course Apple has licensed Microsoft’s ActiveSync technology to bring Exchange connectivity to the iPhone.
Here’s an interesting question–Would Microsoft want to charge for a version of Office for the iPhone? It could provide some added revenue to the unit, but Microsoft would be forced to hand over 30 percent of the proceeds to its rival.
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