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Mobile Apps

Microsoft throwing a WWDC after-party

The software giant will follow Apple's big conference with an event designed to drum up developer interest in its own mobile software and services.

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Microsoft wants to attract mobile app developers, and it's throwing a party to lure them in.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Microsoft is taking advantage of Apple's June 13 developers conference to tout its own stuff.

Dubbed "The Future of Apps," Microsoft's party starts at 5 p.m. PT Monday in San Francisco, just about the time Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference should be winding down there. Taking place at Twitter's San Francisco headquarters -- a five-minute walk from WWDC at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium -- the event will offer free food, drinks and prizes in an attempt to lure developers to learn about Microsoft's latest development efforts.

Specifically, Microsoft is trying to attract Apple iOS and Mac OS X developers. The spotlight will also shine on Xamarin, a Microsoft-owned company that creates software to help developers design and test mobile apps to run on different platforms.

In recent years, Microsoft has been trying to prove that it's more than just Windows. It's been focusing on creating apps and opportunities for Apple's iOS, Android and other competing platforms. The desire to embrace rival operating systems is part of the new and more open Microsoft and a way to generate revenue beyond that that of its core desktop products.

Microsoft has long had a foothold in the Apple world. Office for the Mac has been a mainstay for several years, while Office 365 has also been available for Mac users. As such, offering apps for the iPhone and iPad seems a natural step.

Attendees of the party will be able to meet Microsoft developers working on Outlook for iOS and get "a closer look on how Microsoft is reinventing itself on iOS." The company will also talk about its current Office suite for iOS as well as its SwiftKey iOS keyboard and its MileIQ mileage app for iOS, which Microsoft acquired last year.

To play up the benefits of Xamarin, an engineer from the company will offer one-on-one sessions to show developers how to test their apps. Microsoft sees Xamarin as a way for developers to ensure that their mobile apps can run on iOS, Android and Windows. The goal is to convince developers to subscribe to the Xamarin Test Cloud, which lets them test their mobile apps on more than 2,000 real devices in the cloud and receive detailed reports with results, screenshots and performance metrics.

"Microsoft will engage with developers at a post-keynote party with the Xamarin team, a booth at AltConf and other activities," a company spokeswoman said. "Developers will have access to experts who can answer questions about the growing family of Microsoft platforms, tools and cloud services built for iOS developers, as well as Microsoft's own iOS apps."

Update, 12:55 p.m. PT: Adds comment from Microsoft.