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Microsoft, Macromedia to Power Mobile Devices

Microsoft Corp. Tuesday inked a deal with graphics software maker Macromedia Inc. to cut down the time it takes it for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to develop Windows CE operating system-based devices that include Macromedia Flash Player.

Under the terms of deal, OEMs will be able to take advantage of specially discounted fees for porting and redistribution of Macromedia Flash Player technology in their Windows CE-based devices, such as Pocket PC, Microsoft TV, Car.NET and Microsoft smart phone solutions. Moreover, it will also enable a community of over 1 million Macromedia Flash developers to create content and applications that will run consistently across Microsoft desktop and device platforms.

The pairing of Redmond, Wash.'s Microsoft and San Francisco's Macromedia is the second this month; Macromedia earlier voiced its support for the widely-scrutinized Windows XP operating system when it said it would bundled its Flash Player 5 on all XP platforms. Macromedia's claim that Flash player is the most distributed piece of software on the Web (it's installed on 97 percent of Web-enabled desktops), and its reputation is hardly in question. At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles last May, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) showed how Macromedia's flagship product would be included on the vaunted Playstation 2.

It makes sense, then, that Macromedia would look to perpetuate its legacy on wireless gadgets per the agreement with Microsoft, who itself has an interest in sustaining and grabbing more market share; Palm's OS is the leading platform for mobile devices. Microsoft believes it is gaining.

"As the role of smart Windows CE-based devices continues to expand, it becomes increasingly important for customers to build compelling user experiences for their devices," said Bill Veghte, vice president of the Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group at Microsoft. "With this announcement, Macromedia and Microsoft are making it easier for embedded developers to build exciting interactive content that users demand for their Windows Powered devices."

Microsoft's fourth version of CE, code-named "Talisker" after a brand of scotch, is due to ship at the end of this year.

In related Microsoft news Tuesday, the software power vowed to take Windows XP public at Times Square in New York City Oct. 25 at the Marriott Marquis Theatre. Also, as it previously did with Flash Player 5, Microsoft said it would add Shutterfly Inc.'s digital photography service to XP.