Steve Ballmer Rumored to Appear at WWDC ➝

Eric Savitz reporting for Barron’s:

Trip Chowdhry, an analyst with tiny Global Equities Research, contends that 7 minutes of the June 7 keynote by Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been blocked off for a presentation by Microsoft (MSFT) to talk about Visual Studio 2010, the company’s suite of development tools. Chowdhry says the new version of VS will allow developers to write native applications for the iPhone, iPad and Mac OS. And here’s the kicker: he thinks Microsoft’s presentation could be given by none other than Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

It’s natural to be a little surprised by the idea of Steve Ballmer coming on stage during an Apple keynote. But, if you keep in mind that Microsoft is a software company, it isn’t as crazy as you may have initially thought. Apple is trying to develop a platform and they want more developers supporting their platform than the alternatives. Expanding their developer base to developers who don’t own a Mac would be huge.

There are three thoughts in my mind that keeps me from believing this rumor, though. First, I’m not sure Apple wants developers who run Windows to build applications for the Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Second, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for Microsoft to support a competitor’s software platform just a few months before Windows Phone 7 phones start hitting stores. And third, Apple has been opposed to third-party development tools — they don’t want another company to have any control over their platform.