"The promise of Silverlight is that it's a cross-device, cross-browser, cross-platform solution, and it works the same on Macs as it does on Windows," Goldfarb responded. "The iPhone is a unique scenario. We talked to our customers...and they said, 'Look, we just need to get our content there, and it's mainly in the media space like broadcasting, and we want to put it on the iPhone.' They have a great solution for that; if you're surfing the Web, and hit YouTube and hit 'Play,' it'll play your video because they've created an environment where they can safely play media, and they're comfortable with that.
"So we've worked with Apple to create a server-side based solution with IIS Media Services," Goldfarb continued, "and what we're doing is taking content that's encoded for smooth streaming and enabling the content owner to say, 'I want to enable the iPhone.' The server will dynamically make the content work -- same content, same point of origin -- on the iPhone. We do this with the HTML 5 <VIDEO> tag, in many ways."
Goldfarb showed a standard HTML page where the <VIDEO> tag is embedded, linking to a familiar "Big Buck Bunny" animation that Microsoft has used before in demos. That video is located on an IIS server that now knows how to respond to a request from a QuickTime playback system. "We're translating the content to support the MPEG2 v8 [decoder] format that the iPhone format; we're moving it to their adaptive streaming format. So it's the same IIS smooth streaming content, the same server, the same point of origin, but now I can get that content to play without any code changes, without any real work, on the iPhone. That's the critical thing for our customers."
What did it mean to "work with Apple," I asked Goldfarb. As it turns out, it's a little lopsided: "We did all the work," he responded. "We just made sure Apple was comfortable with it. We have to have a strong partnership with our partners, we have to have trust, and that's key."
From there, Goldfarb could not go into much further detail, but the extent of the achievement could present interesting lessons for others who have been endeavoring to "work with Apple" over the years: Apparently Microsoft didn't spend most of its energy talking about it, negotiating, and making its point. It simply made the technology work first, and Apple said OK.