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Ballmer on Apple's iPhone announcement

The Microsoft CEO says he's interested in getting Silverlight on the iPhone, but not sure if it's possible with Apple's plans to take a 30 percent cut on all applications.

Steve Ballmer reprises Monkey Boy
At Mix '08, Ballmer was asked to reprise his famed 'Monkey Boy' dance, this time touting Web developers. He complied. Ina Fried/

LAS VEGAS--If the jabs from venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki weren't enough, Steve Ballmer took a bunch of no-holds-barred queries from the audience at Mix '08.

He was asked whether, given Apple's iPhone announcement, Microsoft was trying to get Silverlight on the Apple phone.

"Silverlight for the iPhone is, of course, interesting," he said. "I can't say there's been extensive discussion with Guy's old boss."

He also said it was unclear whether Apple's business model, which takes 30 percent of iPhone application revenue, would allow for royalty-free distribution of Silverlight. (Apple has said it will allow free applications.) He also noted that Apple might be taking too large a slice, grabbing "30 percent of every bit of revenue."

"It's a good business, if you can make it," Ballmer said.

Later on, he was asked about Apple's license of the ActiveSync protocol that connects mobile devices to Microsoft's Exchange Server.

More Ballmer Monkey Boy
Ballmer brings back the Monkey Boy dance. Ina Fried/

"We've licensed ActiveSync for a while. That's been an option that's been available to Apple," Ballmer said. The company has already licensed the technology to other rivals, including Palm and Nokia. "It was certainly an option we knew Apple might take advantage of."

Ballmer was also asked to reprise his Monkey Boy dance, this time touting Web developers. He complied. (Watch the video here.)

The session concluded with Kawasaki saying he knew Ballmer really wanted a MacBook Air. "If you ever want a discount, I have friends," he said.