Microsoft can, and will, buy app developer love for the Windows Phone platform

money heartAt SXSW, one of the questions I asked every app developer I met with was what they thought of Windows Phone. And I received generally the same feedback from all of them: really interested by the platform, love the UI, want to see where it’s going. Pretty positive feedback for what’s mostly been considered the dark horse candidate of the mobile market.

Microsoft has been busy – really busy – unifying its platform, which in turn will strengthen what’s behind Windows Phone. Hardware has also been a sticking point, and we’re witnessing the development of the company’s partnership with Nokia. But getting app developers on board has become priority number one in Redmond.

According to a New York Times article, Microsoft is even completely financing the development of some apps – including Foursquare for Windows Phone, which the app’s head of business development Holger Leudorf says probably wouldn’t have happened without that financial backing. Microsoft also had to write the Facebook app itself. And the company has offered other incentives, like free phones, to lure developers to its platform.

And it seems to be working — to a degree. The Windows Phone marketplace now has 70,000 apps available, which still falls well short of its major competitors. But if buying developer love is how it plans to pave the road to success, then there’s little stopping it: Microsoft has plenty of cash to throw around, especially if it sees that its efforts are gaining traction.

Microsoft also has further Android fragmentation in its corner. Rumors of another non-Google device that’s using the Android platform, but not the app store, could make it difficult for Android developers to stay loyal. A recent report also claimed that developing for the Amazon Appstore is more lucrative. Microsoft’s offers of phones and cash are just icing on the cake for those already interested in defecting.

The problem that Windows Phone could run into is the quality of the apps. Getting quantity – plus 100,000 apps, really – is a milestone, but there’s a risk of filling the marketplace with substandard software. The focus needs to remain on recruiting apps with the right stuff.

And everyone knows what that means. Off the top of my head, I can think of a number of apps many of us would need Windows Phone to support if we were to defect: Instagram, Pulse, Flipboard, Words with Friends, Path, Draw Something, Pandora, Urbanspoon, and Mirror’s Edge are just a few apps that have enough weight with users to make them think twice before buying a Windows Phone.

There’s also this group think mentality with developers. Once a few more big names throw their hat into the Windows Phone ring, maybe it will have an opening of the floodgates effect. Sure, it might sound a little bit like buying friends or offering to do their homework for them so they’ll come to your birthday party next weekend, but from the sounds of it they already sort of liked you to begin with. So it could turn out to be one of those stories where you were meant to pals all along. 

Mobile

Updating to Apple’s iOS 12 will make your iPhone a whole lot smarter

iOS 12, the latest version of Apple’s iOS, is officially here. We took it for a spin to check out its new noteworthy features, and if it truly changes our smartphone habits for the better.
Home Theater

From game consoles to 4K UHD spinners, these are the best Blu-ray players

Streaming may be popular, but the disc isn't dead yet! To get the very best picture and sound quality from your system, you need to be watching Blu-ray or 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. Here are the best Blu-ray players you can buy right now.
Gaming

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.
Mobile

Put your iPad Pro to the test with these great games

Did you recently purchase a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, or are you enjoying the 12.9-inch version? If so, we've rounded up a few of the best iPad Pro games currently available on Apple's mobile platform.
Mobile

Inferiority is a feature now! Palm's new plan is psychotic

The Palm is a smartphone to reduce your smartphone usage, or a small smartphone for when you don't want to carry your big smartphone. Palm itself doesn't seem sure which it is, but either way, it's a product that's so witless, we're amazed…
Photography

Adobe Premiere Rush CC is the cloud-based video editing app you've been waiting for

On stage at Adobe MAX 2018, Adobe announced its cloud-centric, social video-editing application, Adobe Premiere Rush CC. We took some time to put it through its paces to see what it offers, how it works, and what's missing.
Mobile

Huawei and Leica’s monochrome lens is dead, so we celebrate its life

The Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro do not have a dedicated monochrome camera lens, unlike the P20 Pro, and various Huawei and Leica phones before it. It's the end of an era, and also the start of a new one, as Leica has worked on its…
Deals

Verizon’s buy one, get one offer is the best deal on the new Google Pixel 3

If you need a new smartphone and want the best (without shelling out a grand or more), the new Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are fantastic options. Verizon's BOGO offer is the best way to score a deal, letting you snag a free phone and save…
Mobile

Huawei Mate 20 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Flagship fight

When it comes to stunning flagships, Samsung and Huawei are often the first names the come to mind. And the new Huawei Mate 20 Pro is no exception. So how does it compare to the Samsung Galaxy Note 9? We put the two to the test to find out.
Mobile

Here’s how Google’s Call Screening A.I. works, and how to use it

Google's Pixel 3 and 3 XL smartphones can take excellent photos, but there are a few artificial intelligence features that steal the show. Call Screening uses Google Assistant to answer the phone for spam calls.
Mobile

Key settings you need to change on your Sony Xperia XZ3

The first thing you need to do when you buy a new phone is dig into the settings and customize it to your liking. We’ve got step-by-step instructions for tweaking key settings on your Sony Xperia XZ3 right here.
Computing

Is the Pixelbook 2 still happening? Here's everything we know so far

What will the Pixelbook 2 be like? Has the Pixel Slate taken its place? Google hasn't announced it, but thanks to rumors and leaks, we think we have a pretty good idea of what the potential new flagship Chromebook will be like.
Mobile

These are the best LG V40 ThinQ cases to stop unsightly damage

The LG V40 ThinQ is the latest entry in LG's long line of great V series phones, but it's not invincible. The best way to protect it from potential damage is with one of the best LG V40 ThinQ cases.
Mobile

With Spotify for WearOS, you no longer need your phone to stream music

A Spotify app will soon be available for download on Wear OS smartwatches. Whether you're working out or lounging at home, you'll soon be able to access and control your music straight from your wrist.