Microsoft to pay mobile app developers in desperate bid to catch Apple

“Microsoft Corp. is paying developers to build mobile applications for its Windows Phone 7 system to help it narrow a lead by rival products from Apple Inc. and Google Inc,” Dina Bass and Adam Satariano report for Bloomberg.

“The company is providing financial incentives ranging from free tools and test handsets to funds for software development and marketing, said Todd Brix, a senior director at Microsoft who works with app developers,” Bass and Satariano report. “In some cases, Microsoft is providing revenue guarantees, and will make up the difference if apps don’t sell as well as expected, he said.”

Bass and Satariano report, “While Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, has used similar compensation programs for previous versions of its mobile operating system, it’s devoting a larger sum this time, Brix said. He declined to say how much Microsoft will spend.”

“At least four app makers have been approached by Microsoft and offered financial incentives in cash, assistance with development costs or revenue guarantees in exchange for having apps ready at or near the release of Windows Phone 7, said five people with knowledge of the matter. The people declined to be named because the incentive terms are confidential,” Bass and Satariano report. “Other mobile software makers use different approaches to entice programmers. Apple shares a portion of the revenue generated when consumers buy apps from its online store. The company, based in Cupertino, California, has sold more than 51 million iPhones since its 2007 debut.”

Bass and Satariano report, “Apple has about 225,000 apps available for the iPhone, while devices that run on Google’s Android operating system have access to some 65,000. Microsoft is starting from scratch in amassing apps for Windows Phone 7. Its overhaul of the operating system [means] that programs developed for older Windows-based phones won’t work on the new one. At the end of last year, Microsoft had only 246 apps, according to ABI.”

Full article here.

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

25 Comments

  1. @ Jersey_Trader

    I actually saw a Big Ass Table sort of in the wild last week. I was at a British Airways Lounge in Terminal 5 at Heathrow and Jaguar had one there supposedly advertising their cars. What a mess!! Glare from a nearby window made it unreadable..then, when I did touch it…up popped that ugly 1980’s hand shaped pointer that just cried ‘Windows 3’ at me. No elegance, no style….total contrast to the message I’m sure Jaguar intended to convey. What were they thinking? Did they not see the “Microsoft” label on the Purchase Order?

    Tragic waste of resources for Jaguar. Tragic fail for MS.

  2. I was in a local Apple Store today and saw my first iPhone 4. What a screen! If you haven’t seen one… well, it’s just smooth – no pixels visible to my old eyes at all. Gorgeous. And I compared the speed of one of my kids’ games on my 3G against what the new phone could do and there was literally no lag on the G4. I hadn’t even really realized how slow my old phone was! Come November, when my two-year contract with AT & T is up, I’m grabbing a 4.

    Sorry. What was the topic again? Oh, Microsoft paying people off? This is news?

  3. Yes, Microsoft is desperate. But it is a smart move for Microsoft.

    When the original iPhone launched, there was no expectation that a smart phone must have an app store. So iPhone didn’t need to have one during Year One. When Apple launched the App Store along with iPhone 2.0, it already had a user base from the first year of iPhone sales in the millions, most of them with existing iTunes Store customer accounts. Developers got onboard quickly and willingly, because there were already millions of potential customers out there on Day One of the App Store’s opening.

    Every Apple copycat had to contend with not only launching a new smart phone platform, but also have an App Store immediately. It was now an expectation from smart phone users. Therefore, Microsoft must have its own app store populated with at least a few hundred apps, when Windows Phone 7 goes live. Since there will be zero existing Windows Phone 7 users at launch, how else is Microsoft going to entice developers, except by bribing them with upfront money. Desperate YES. Expected YES.

  4. @aka Christian:
    If your ATT contract expires in November 2010, then you qualify to upgrade NOW. You don’t have to wait until November. ATT gave everybody who expires in 2010 early early upgrades.

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