Computing firm plans to attract mobile developers with cross-platform options

Microsoft wants HTML5 on Xbox One

Microsoft is considering an HTML5 development solution for the Xbox One that would also make it easier for the company to attract developers to its Windows Phone platform.

Yesterday the company purchased Nokia’s Devices and Services division – once the world leader in mobile phone sales – for £4.6 billion, and recently announced it was lowering the annual fee for Windows Phone development.

Taken together these moves reveal a company that is dead-set on becoming a major rival to Apple and Google in the mobile phone sector.

In a conference call with investors, Microsoft’s EVP of operating systems Terry Myerson said making HTML5 available to developers across all the company’s platforms was a big part of its plans.

"We want to offer the opportunity to build either HTML5 applications, or native applications that span all of those devices, enabling them to reach segments of users on those devices, users on a gaming console, and provide them with very unique opportunities to monetize their application investments," said Myerson.

"We’re pretty excited about the platforms that we’re bringing to market. Developer reception in some areas is certainly better than others, but overall we’re making progress, and we know we’ve got a lot more work to do."

Microsoft recently discontinued support for its XNA game development platform, which struck many as an odd move at the time since it seemed to risk alienating independent developers who relied on it to get their games on the Xbox 360.

The company said at the time that it wouldn’t leave developers high and dry, and suggested a replacement was on the way.

Is Microsoft replacing its DirectX-based XNA with an HTML5 library? It’s an interesting idea, and one that definitely has merit – especially considering the new focus on mobile.

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