Microsoft Extends Its Next-Generation Graphics Tech to Macs, Mobile Devices

Taking yet another swing at Adobe, Microsoft says that its next-generation graphics engine will go "everywhere," starting with Mac OS X and handhelds. The move brings Redmond into closer competition with Macromedia Flash and other established

LOS ANGELES—Microsoft Corp. on Thursday took another poke at graphics powerhouse Adobe Systems Inc. At its developer confab here, the Windows company announced that its latest front-end tools will let programmers and content producers create applications and other rich-media content that can run on operating systems other than Windows Vista.

The company demonstrated Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere (WPF/E), a subset of its Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), previously known as Avalon. WPF/E provides tools that developers can use to build applications using Microsofts XAML page layout language.

According to Microsoft, WPF provides a common runtime engine for this XAML content, including graphics, video, audio, forms and documents, as well as support for browsers. The architecture comprises two parts: the engine that presents the rich content and experience, and a programming framework for developers.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read about Microsofts new graphic design tool suite.

It was previously assumed that WPF would only be able to build applications and content for Windows Vista. However, since WPF relies significantly on the cross-platform Javascript scripting language, it will be able to provide interaction across supported devices and platforms, the company said.

Microsoft said WPF/E will support Apple Computer Inc.s Mac OS X, as well as older versions of Windows and Microsoft Smartphones.

This move places Microsoft in more direct competition with established multi-modal presentation technologies, analysts said.

"While it makes sense that Microsoft should offer something like Windows Presentation Foundation or extend it to other devices, I see potentially huge implications for Macromedia Flash," JupiterResearch analyst Joe Wilcox observed.

/zimages/4/28571.gifMicrosofts Sparkle Vs. Macromedias Flash. Click here to read more.

Microsoft Senior Vice President Jim Allchin presented the technology on Tuesday during his keynote address here at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference. He demonstrated a version of WPF running in Apples Safari browser on a Mac. He then ran his presentation in Windows Internet Explorer 7, followed by a mobile phone.

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