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Microsoft Launches First iPhone App

Gordon Kelly


Microsoft Launches First iPhone App

Microsoft has moments when you really must give it credit and others where you just shake your head in disbelief. This is both...

The skinny: the Redmond giant has used the weekend to launch its first iPhone app, called 'Seadragon Mobile', and made it completely free. What Seadragon Mobile does is give users access to huge photo libraries over the air using either 3G or WiFi. Available photos include those already at its own PhotoSynth site plus user uploaded content.

Navigation employs full multi-touch technology with flicking and pinching to control zoom levels and users can also subscribe to RSS feeds to keep abreast of the newest content. Speaking to TechFlash Microsoft Live Labs group product manager Alex Daley explained the move saying: "The iPhone is the most widely distributed phone with a (graphics processing unit). Most phones out today don't have accelerated graphics in them. The iPhone does and so it enabled us to do something that has been previously difficult to do. I couldn't just pick up a BlackBerry or a Nokia off the shelf and build Seadragon for it without GPU support."

So credit goes for Microsoft for being so open and choosing to develop for platforms it respects whether or not it comes from a rival. On the other hand: why oh why oh why?

For one, while it is a nice app - if not the most exciting in the world - you'd think Microsoft could better utilise the time and money of its development teams by getting Windows Mobile and applications for that up to speed. Secondly, Seadragon Mobile is completely free which is a great deal for iPhone owners but why can't it show the same love and devotion to its own customers?!

Remember this is a company which seemingly won't offer core functionality upgrades such as Pocket Internet Explorer 6 and Windows Mobile 6.5 to its users without forcing them to upgrade their handsets. In essence then we see Microsoft doing something nice to promote and encourage the sales of its rivals while treating its own long suffering customers like rubbish... go figure?!

Seadragon Mobile is available now via App Store.


quote via TechCrunch

App Store Direct Link


December 15, 2008, 5:17 am

I would love to think that this is all a part of MS's master plan...like a killer trojan set to go off a midnight on the new year, thus destroying all iPhones...

Na, didn't think so either!

WTF were they thinking?


December 15, 2008, 12:35 pm

testing the waters :D

pretty much everybody who has a mac has office 2008. why? i think they plan on iphone integration with windows 7. and why not? more people have iphones than macs. take advantage of it and give them a reason to stay windows (7) and not cough up and go mac.


December 15, 2008, 2:14 pm

not quite sure what you mean ilovethemonkeyhead, iPhones do work with windows?


December 15, 2008, 3:03 pm

i meant complete integration, like automatic syncing without itunes, and stuff like that... unless it already does that


December 15, 2008, 3:44 pm

Ah, I see. That would be awesome but I can't see it ever happening. I'd just be happy if Microsoft gave Windows a basic but proper contacts/calendar app that syncs with everything, ala Outlook, but is free. I wouldn't mind having to install itunes then. Having to install iTunes AND Outlook just to sync with google calendar is such a pain.

Gavin Hamer

December 15, 2008, 6:15 pm

Wow, they're still finding new and unexpected ways to kick existing WinMo customers in the goolies. Nice shot.

Mad Iguana

December 15, 2008, 7:22 pm

Just wondering - given that there is at least one other top-selling phone out there with graphics acceleration (Nokia N95, which I believe sold at least as many as the iPhone worldwide) - is there a chance that the real reason that MS are doing this is to trial out a multi-touch software implementation on 3rd-party hardware not running MS software, so that they don't have too much at stake if it fails, for possibly implementing multi-touch in a future version of WinMo?

Just a thought, not sure if it even makes sense.


December 15, 2008, 7:47 pm

I've used this a little bit and actually find its maps function superior to the iPhone's own Google maps app in terms of speed and responsiveness, as it doesn't blank out the map when zooming in or out, but it has no search function or directions option, so is less useful. Apart from that I can't really see any use for it apart from to show off its deep zoom function, which is undoubtedly pretty cool (especially 'Running the Numbers' under 'Art').

Brian ONeill

December 15, 2008, 11:06 pm

I synced the wifes spv e650 windows mobiles with our new vista laptop. I used the super new windows mobile device central. Unfortunatly microsofts idea of sync was to erase all the contacts off her phone! Luckily i had a backup of her contacts. I did look for the settings about syncing but there was none of the options that used to be in the old activesync.

Contract this with my iphone, you plug it in, and it syncs with outlook first time, no hassle at all. Not like the nightmare you have with activesync and device centre.

I am one of those crazy kids who likes vista and office 2007, but MS have seriously lost the way when it comes to mobiles.


December 15, 2008, 11:23 pm

@Brian - I'll give you the iPhone and Office 2007, but not Vista *shudder*. Still have hope for Windows 7, but not so much for Windows Mobile 7 as Microsoft is just SO FAR behind I'm not sure it can ever catch up.


December 16, 2008, 12:00 am

hope for windows 7 just plummeted for me, i recently saw some screen dumps which say "windows 7 ultimate" :(

the only thing that will console me is if microsoft release it as a free downloadable service pack...


December 16, 2008, 3:59 am

Think it's a shame that MS doesn't target the Xbox 360 for some little apps like this. Certainly wouldn't hurt to have a category of apps that make use of the 360's GFX hardware for something other than games (if only for us 30-somethings that aren't all that bothered about dressing up Avatars and the like!)

Though, as an iPhone user (one of the few that likes a healthy blend of Apple / MS and Linux in my life) I'm kind of glad to see this heading to the App Store and hope more interesting products from all the big software houses keep coming... wouldn't want all of the iPhone freeware from MS and Google getting lonely there, would we?

Hamish Campbell

December 16, 2008, 1:00 pm

heh heh, free service pack.

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