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The iPhone is probably one of the most successful mobile communications device ever sold. According to Apple’s quarterly sales reports, the iPhone sold more than one million in Q4 of 2007 (see the report here), less than 3 months after it was launched and Apple is more than halfway in achieving their target of selling 10 million iPhone by the end of 2008.

It’s not a surprise if Microsoft wants to hop on the iPhone’s success/popularity bandwagon.

steve jobs bill gates

It may be a common misconception that Apple and Microsoft are archenemies. Over the years, the 2 companies have been helping each other to grow. Back in 1997, Steve Jobs announced that Internet Explorer 4.0 would be the default browser in Mac OS because back then, IE was the best browser there was (Netscape was also a huge contender). Also in 1997, Microsoft even invested $150 million in Apple, developing Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office for Mac, along with other developing tools for Macintosh at that time. Seems coincidental that everything started in 1997, doesn’t it? That’s the year when Steve Jobs became the CEO of Apple Computers.

Over a decade has past, and the collaboration is still going strong. And even though IE for Mac is no longer used, Microsoft has still maintained a group of engineers and programmers to handle Mac side of things – Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit. And it’s aptly located just a few miles from Apple’s Headquarters in California. And currently, Microsoft is one of Apple’s largest software development partners.

Just on Mac software alone, Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit made around $200 million in profit last year. And take into consideration, that’s mostly due to Office Suite for Mac!

Apple launched its SDK (Software Development Kit) for the iPhone not long ago, and the programming scene for applications and games for the iPhone is really buzzing. So, it just makes sense that Microsoft would want a piece of this. Tom Gibbons is the head of Microsoft’s Specialized Devices and Applications Groups (which means he deals with stuff like Microsoft Surface Computing and other hardware) and he said that their current focus is to extend Office functions onto the iPhone and iPod Touch.

It sounds like we’re going to be able to create/edit Word documents, Excel and Powerpoint files on our iPhones. Although it sounds feasible, don’t get your hopes up yet. They are just looking into it right now as the SDK is quite fresh and they don’t really know how much can be done with it. But if it can be done, imagine how the world will change: You could be giving your Powerpoint presentation by hooking your iPhone up to a projector or editing your documents in the train. You could do your work anywhere without a laptop.

This brings the iPhone onto a whole different level. The boundaries of this phone are limitless just because developers out there can write software for it, and just about anything goes. I’ve always had this at the back of my mind when I purchased the iPhone. I knew that the day will come when it will overtake Windows Mobile device in terms of productivity.

People have often asked me previously “Is it a phone or a PDA/Phone?” and I always replied,”Right now it’s just a phone, it’s going to be a PDA/Phone later.” And that always catches their attention.