Silverlight goes where the money is: mobile

Microsoft’s stealth Windows replacement WebOS turned the corner today with the announcement of Windows Phone developer tools. Mention Silverlight on the Gillmor Gang as I did Friday, and Google evangelists Chris Messina and Brett Slatkin did a living Blue Screen of Death. But Nexus One and Android success not only validates the race with Apple, it brings Microsoft into third place in the smart phone race. As Seesmic’s Loic Le Meur told me prior to his appearance at the MIX2010 keynote, shipping a plug-in architecture for Silverlight gives him an instant onramp to Windows, Mac, and mobile.

Scott Guthrie leads off. With no PDC this year, MIX has taken on the tone of the premier Microsoft developer conference.

    Silverlight approaching 60% penetration, up from 45% at the PDC last December.
    The Olympics player has been open sourced.
    Visual Studio reved to support Silverlight 4.
    Free Expression Blend 4 upgrade to Silverlight 4.

Silverlight 4 ships next month.

Joe Belfiore takes over to announce the development platform for Window Phone 7 series devices. What’s immediately interesting is how similar WIndows Phone is to Android. The three experiences may be more similar than Apple wants them to be, but the time spent learning Android pays off more quickly wtih Windows Phone than iPhone. Even differences become less intimidating because of the transition through Android.

Not surprisingly, what’s not shown is any tools for porting Windows Phone apps to iPhone or Android. I wouldn’t expect the latter, but given Adobe’s noise about Flash-to-i(Pad)Phone, the former is surely in the works. Microsoft is giving away all the dev tools for WP7 development, and Seesmic’s demo underlines how fast the ecosystem could be built with Microsoft at the head of the stack. Of course, no one sees it this way ecept a small number of analysts and developers who recognize Redmond’s core strengths and weakness from the stretched-to-the-margins Google play. That leaves Apple.