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Microsoft Licenses Flash Lite, Reader LE


San Jose (CA) - Adobe announced late Sunday that Microsoft has licensed its Flash Player runtime for the Internet Explorer Mobile browser as well as Reader LE to display PDF documents on Windows Mobile-based phones. According to the announcement, both products will be made available to OEMs who license Microsoft’s Windows Mobile software.

The especially interesting part about this announcement is Microsoft’s decision to adopt the Flash Lite 3.x browser plug-in for its mobile Internet Explorer. Originally developed by Macromedia as a cellphone version of its Flash software, Flash Lite was offered beginning in mid 2004 but had a rocky start initially with few companies showing interest. Back then, Flash Lite was developed and marketed under the direction of Juha Christensen: Before joining Macromedia as president of the mobile and devices division in July of 2004, he had the idea for the Symbian operating system at Psion and later served four years as corporate vice president at Microsoft, where he was in charge of mobile software.

Christensen left Macromedia in November 2004 to found startup Sonopia, but Macromedia and Adobe were able to get Flash Lite more traction over the years. Adobe claims that more than 500 million mobile devices have shipped with the software to date. Considering the fact that more than 3.2 billion cellphones have shipped since the beginning of 2004, Flash Lite has still some way to go until it will be available in the majority of devices, but Adobe claims that the software is gaining popularity and has seen "over 150% growth over the last year.

Adobe said that Flash Lite is now being shipped with mobile phones and devices "from all major handset manufacturers worldwide".