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MS ports iPhone apps to Windows Mobile

Software giant ready to take on Apple App Store

Microsoft has published a case study detailing how to port an iPhone application to its Windows Mobile platform as it prepares to launch an online store for mobile applications to compete with Apple.

A post on The Windows Blog highlights a case study published on Microsoft's Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) site containing a detailed technical blueprint that describes the porting of the iPhone application Amplitude to Windows Mobile 6.5.

The report was created by a third-party consulting group, Crimson Consulting, and is meant to be a helpful document for developers as they build Windows Mobile applications for Microsoft's Windows Marketplace.

Amplitude is an iPhone app that picks up any sound in a user's immediate surroundings through a microphone, amplifies it and renders it on the device in a graphical representation. In particular, it can amplify sounds not normally picked up by the human ear, such as heartbeats.

According to the blog post by Constanze Roman, a Windows Mobile Community team project manager, Amplitude is well-suited for a porting project because it is difficult to port in a way that will provide a good learning experience for Windows Mobile developers.

"It combines a rich user interface with features such as alpha blending and transparency with specific audio and sound requirements, which makes it challenging to port the app but, at the same time, provides a number of helpful learning experiences," he wrote.

Microsoft plans to launch the Windows Marketplace for mobile applications in the fall, which in the US means the late-September to late-December time frame. Last week Microsoft began accepting submissions of mobile-phone software applications for the site from registered developers in 29 countries. As an incentive, the company is offering prizes for the most popular applications as judged by downloads, revenue, usefulness and more. Apple already has a thriving marketplace for developers that build iPhone applications.

Microsoft President of Entertainment and Devices Robbie Bach acknowledged last week at the company's annual meeting of financial analysts that Microsoft's mobile business, centred on its Windows Mobile OS and development platform, did not perform well in the last fiscal year, losing market share while making modest gains in unit volume.

Apple's iPhone continues to leave most other competitors in the dust in the mobile space, and Microsoft has been struggling for some time to compete in this market. In fact, while Microsoft and most other tech companies continue to report declines across their business due to the recession, Apple is doing well financially, mainly because of its booming iPhone business.

In addition to the apps marketplace, Bach said Microsoft has a few ideas to improve its mobile business, including adding talent to the team and continuing to innovate on the platform without building its own hardware to compete with the iPhone, which analysts have suggested it should do.

Analysts agree that Microsoft needs more than an online store to boost its mobile business. Matt Rosoff, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, said recently that Microsoft would serve itself well by making an acquisition in the mobile space, which is not completely unlikely given the company has been hoarding cash instead of buying back a lot of its stock, going against what analysts have expected.

See also:

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