Beleaguered Motorola stoops to bribery to woo developers from Apple iPhone

“How does once-hot mobile phone maker Motorola plan to capture developers’ attention away from Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android platforms? Good, old-fashioned bribery, of course,” Dan Frommer reports for Silicon Alley Insider.

“Motorola’s new “Widget Developer Challenge” will award lucky winners prizes up to $25,000 and ‘global exposure.’ All you have to do is join Motorola’s developer program, learn their widget system, make something cool, and if you’re lucky, profit,” Frommer reports.

“And then plan to forget everything you’ve learned — because Motorola will be throwing it away anyway,” Frommer reports.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Ken” for the heads up.]

Only a company with its collective head up its ass as far as Motorola’s is would run a contest offering prize money to develop for a platform that they’re dumping next year. This gives new meaning to the term “killer app.” If your goal is to develop for a dead platform (and company, for that matter) then have at it, otherwise stick with the iPhone SDK – that’s where the real money and real futures can be found.

In May 2007, Motorola’s then-Chairman and then-CEO Ed Zander boasted that his company was ready for competition from Apple’s iPhone, due out the following month. “How do you deal with that?” Zander was asked at the Software 2007 conference. Zander quickly retorted, “How do they deal with us?”


  1. “Zander quickly retorted, “How do they deal with us?”

    By rolling over you at high speed and not even slowing down.
    That’s what happens when you stand in front of a steamroller powered by a little Hydrogen and a lot of Liquid O2.

  2. Steve Ballmer at Microsoft could do the same or even better. They could offer $250,000 for a new OS. Dump Windows and its R&D;team and start fresh.

    It would be well spent money. Much better than those TV adds and paying $10,000 to $15,000 for BS reviews and articles.

  3. I could believe the last part until I read it myself. Sounds like classic Dilbert.
    The bribery makes sense. (similar to the Apple developer’s fund)

    But bribing someone to expend lots of money, time, manpower, advertising on something everyone knows will be axed in a year?

    Buh bye, MOTO.

  4. “Zander quickly retorted, “How do they deal with us?”

    By putting a little padding on their seat, for a little cushioning as they run over you…

    But this ‘developer program’ seems stupid, as Motorola phones either use WinMobile or Palm’s 10 year old OS, which they are throwing out for an all new OS whenever they can get their act together.

  5. So, basically EXACTLY like the 100 MILLIN dollar iFund that Apple set up to “reward” iPhone developers who come up with great applications.

    And exactly like the 10 MILLION dollar Android Developers Contest that Google setup to fund Android developers?

    This is nothing new and is standard practice in the software development industry.

  6. @Look Alive,
    NO, not EXACTLY. Did you read the clincher?
    “The problem: While Motorola is releasing phones based on that operating system now — like the new VE66 — they’re ditching it next year.”

    Both iPhone and Android have a potential future. Moto is asking people to develop for a platform they’ve already decided to kill next year.

  7. MDN must be getting nervous that Motorola might actually deliver a good experience if they feel so compelled to have to trash them over and over again. Why don’t we wait until these widgets get in the hands of users and then decide?


    I was just at a MSFT Dev conference in Dallas – the final speaker was pushing Windows Mobile – OMG it is so bad. one 5 minute iPhone dev video on-line is all it took to blow away the lame interface, poor developer tools, and pathetic memory heap collection. I asked what tools there were for assisting developers with caching data until a connection was reestablished – short answer was none.

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