Microsoft and Nokia hope Silverlight will outshine Flash

Microsoft has signed a deal with Nokia to deploy its Silverlight software on millions of mobile phones. Silverlight is regarded as a competitor to Adobe's Flash, and recently launched Air product, because it enables designers and developers to produce web applications that are independent of the browser, operating system and handset. Microsoft has stressed Silverlight's use for developing Web 2.0 applications that would work on a range of devices, from the desktop to mobile phones.

It will be deployed initially on Nokia's S60 high end, smart phones running the Symbian operating system. The S60 is used in handsets built by LG and Samsung as well as Nokia (including for its N96 phone, successor to its N95) and is the most popular smart phone software platform with more than 53% market share.

Flash is already on millions of mobile phones and Adobe has agreements with 18 of the top 20 device manufacturers worldwide including Nokia. Adobe said that 450 million devices have been shipped with the cut-down version of Flash, Flash Lite.

Microsoft is also working on a version of Silverlight for its own Windows Mobile software, which despite millions of dollars of investment, has failed to make much of an impact on the mobile market with a around 6% market share and has already been overtaken by the iPhone, according to Q4 2007 figures published by Canalys.