Microsoft is reportedly paying developers to produce applications for its forthcoming Windows Phone 7 system as the software giant attempts to launch the new platform with a competitive array of apps. According to Bloomberg, the company is providing financial incentives such as free tools, test handsets and funds for software development and marketing. Tood Brix, a senior director at Microsoft, reportedly said that in some cases Microsoft is providing revenue guarantees and will make up the difference if apps don’t sell as well as expected. Brix noted that while Microsoft has used similar compensation programmes for previous versions of its mobile operating system, it is devoting a larger, unspecified sum this time. “We are investing a lot to attract developers big and small to Windows Phone 7 to let them understand what the opportunity is and provide as many resources as we can to help them be successful on our platform,” he is quoted as stating. Typically, app developers in this space earn payment by taking a majority (approximately 70 percent) share of revenue from each app sold.
Microsoft’s move is understandable in light of the fact that it is starting with a clean slate in generating apps for devices running the Windows Phone 7 operating system. Earlier this year Microsoft executive Charlie Kindel revealed that Windows Phone 7 will not support any existing applications written for older versions of Microsoft’s phone software. “For us, the cost of going from good to great is a clean break from the past,” Kindel wrote in a blog in March. Analysts believe Microsoft faces an uphill task. “There’s absolutely less enthusiasm today for Windows Phone 7; developers develop for the platform with the largest number of users because that’s where they can make the most money,” Matt Rosoff from Directions on Microsoft told Bloomberg. “Windows Phone 7 is an unproven prospect. It definitely makes sense for Microsoft to prime the pump a little bit.” Launched last October, Microsoft’s mobile app store – Windows Marketplace for Mobile – appears to offer less than 1,000 applications, far fewer than the 225,000+ on offer from Apple’s rival store.