Nokia smartphones to turn on Microsoft's Silverlight

Deal with largest smartphone manufacturer "an important win"

Microsoft said this week that it will deliver a version of its Silverlight media player for Nokia's market-leading S60 platform for smartphones by the end of this year.

Microsoft will also develop a version of Silverlight to run on Nokia's older S40 platform, as well as Nokia's Internet tablets, according to John Case, product manager for Microsoft's developer tools.

Officially launched last September after months of hype, Silverlight is a cross-browser multimedia player similar to Adobe Systems' dominant Flash player. It runs on Windows, Mac and, soon, Linux.

Microsoft is also working on a version of Silverlight for its Windows Mobile platform, for which a CTP will be out "in very short order," Case said.

But adding Nokia's S60, based on the Symbian OS, is a far bigger deal. Nokia is the largest smartphone maker today, shipping 53 per cent of the 35.5 million smartphones sent out worldwide in Q4 2007, according to market research firm, Canalys.

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion had 11 per cent of the market, while Apple, which uses the Mac OS X for its iPhones, was tied with Motorola for third with 6.5 per cent.

"This is actually an important win for Microsoft," wrote Jack Gold, an independent telecom analyst. "Microsoft is clearly trying to gain traction against Flash, and since Nokia has a commanding lead in smartphone devices, this puts Microsoft on the map."

When ready, Silverlight will be installed on all of Nokia's new smartphones. Users with existing phones will also be to get CDs with the application or to simply download it from the Internet, Case said.

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