Mr. Softy Pictures an iPhone

Today's sign of the tech apocalypse: Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) has chosen the iPhone -- not Research In Motion's (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) BlackBerry, not Nokia's (NYSE: NOK  ) Symbian, not even its own Windows Mobile -- as the debut platform for Seadragon Mobile, a large-image browser.

I love how Alex Daley, group product manager for Mr. Softy's Live Labs in-house incubator, explained his team's rationale to technology blogger Todd Bishop of TechFlash.

"The iPhone is the most widely distributed phone with a (graphics processing unit)," Daley told Bishop. "Most phones out today don't have accelerated graphics in them. The iPhone does and so it enabled us to do something that has been previously difficult to do. I couldn't just pick up a Blackberry or a Nokia off the shelf and build Seadragon for it without GPU support."

In other words, the iPhone's advanced features put it ahead of peers in this area. And other areas, too, according to the most recent worldwide smartphone market share data from Canalys:

Company

Q3 2008 Shipments

% Market Share

Q3 2007 Shipments

% Market Share

Nokia

15.485 mil

38.9%

16.025 mil

51.4%

Apple

6.899 mil

17.3%

1.107 mil

3.6%

Research In Motion

6.051 mil

15.2%

3.298 mil

10.6%

Motorola

2.313 mil

5.8%

2.058 mil

6.6%

High Tech Computer

2.308 mil

5.8%

.850 mil

2.7%

All Others

6.791 mil

17%

7.816 mil

25.1%

Source: Canalys.

This is why Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) CEO Steve Jobs won't sell a $99 iPhone at Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) , Fool. Why go cheap when one of your platform competitors recognizes you've created a winner?

Surely Microsoft has, and will continue to, create plenty of excellent software for its own platforms. But as an Apple investor, I'm glad to see that Mr. Softy is still a grudging admirer of the iEmpire's wares.

Brrrrrring! Its related Foolishness calling:

Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Microsoft, Nokia, and Wal-Mart are Inside Value picks. Try either of these Foolish services free for 30 days. There's no obligation to subscribe.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Rule Breakers team and had stock and options positions in Apple and a stock position in Nokia at the time of publication. Check out his portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with Tim on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy won't hang up on you


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