Microsoft has a lot of cash lying around.
Or so it may seem, judging from their latest efforts to lure developers to their brand new mobile platform, Windows Phone 7.
Microsoft is now investing heavily in making sure that Windows Phone 7 will see many apps already available when it launches in October, so that consumers who decide to take the plunge and switch to Microsoft’s OS will not be disappointed by the number and quality of apps available.
The financial incentives that Microsoft is providing developers include free tools and test handsets, but most notable is that Microsoft may even outright fund app development and marketing. In some cases, it may even provide revenue guarantees. This means that if an app doesn’t end up selling as well as Microsoft has anticipated, they will pay the developer the difference between the projected and actual sales.
Pretty compelling stuff if you’re a developer.
This aims to solve the ‘chicken and egg’ problem that always arises with a new mobile platform. Developers usually want to wait and see if the platform is successful in sales before pouring any money and effort into supporting it. The platform’s success, however, depends more and more nowdays on the strength of the apps that are available for it.
Microsoft has used similar compensation schemes for Windows Mobile, but this time the sums involved are much higher. Yet, not at all unexpectedly, Microsoft has declined to talk numbers.
At least four app makers that currently develop for other mobile platforms have been approached until now by Microsoft and offered the package of incentives described above.
And it looks like many more established mobile developers should be expecting a call from Microsoft soon.
Windows Phone 7 is Microsoft’s biggest gamble in the mobile space yet. And they need it to be a success, otherwise they won’t be able to stop their market share from collapsing.
This strategy sounds like a good idea, and if executed right, may make Apple’s app advantage less obvious by the time the first Windows Phone 7 handsets will be available.
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