updated 02:10 pm EDT, Thu May 27, 2010
Wild rumor of Ballmer at WWDC triggers talk
Microsoft today denied that Steve Ballmer would present at Apple's WWDC. It follows a questionable rumor that Microsoft's Steve Ballmer would make a presentation at the conference in roughly two weeks. Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry believed the Microsoft CEO was penciled in for seven minutes of time at the keynote and would talk about a new version of Visual Studio 2010 that would produce iPad, iPhone and Mac apps.
The statements carried a large amount of doubt to start with, as they would seemingly contradict Apple's own policies. The iPhone 4.0 SDK bans cross-compiling tools and would likely leave Visual Studio 2010 violating the same rules that banned Flash CS5; it would need to produce truly native code similar to that of Apple's Xcode. Visual Studio is also being tailored to Windows Phone 7, and Microsoft may not necessarily be willing to support a competing mobile platform.
Chowdhry also has a mixed track record on advance information. He correctly predicted that the Motorola Backflip would launch at CES and that it would eventually come to AT&T, but the choice of carrier wasn't mentioned until a month later. Multiple key features were also incorrect, as he predicted it would use an OLED display and stock Android where it actually used an LCD and Motoblur.
In spite of the denial, the mention has sparked talk that a Microsoft appearance, if true at all, would more likely be an opportunity to add either Bing as a search engine or Silverlight as a component of Safari.
Numerous problems have been cited with either possible decision. While Apple may want to change search engines to spite Google for its competition through Android, the anti-Microsoft sentiment stirred by Apple could backfire if Bing became the default search option or if Silverlight was the default choice. As a plugin, Silverlight has usually performed better than Flash on the desktop but is still largely untested in mobile. Using the format also wouldn't confer much advantage to Apple as Silverlight is used on far fewer websites.