Nokia exec hints Microsoft should speed up Windows Phone app development

Today's official launch of the Nokia Lumia 1020 is one of the biggest product launches yet for both Nokia and Microsoft since the two companies forged their Windows Phone partnership more than two years ago. Now an interview with Nokia Vice President Bryan Biniak seems to hint that the Finland smartphone maker wants the Windows Phone team in Redmond to speed up development of the operating system.

The chat, on the International Business Times web site, states that, according to Biniak, smartphone owners have apps they use everyday and if those apps are not available on a certain smartphone, they are not going to change, even if the hardware inside is better. He is quoted as saying, "You can't sell a phone without the apps, you just can't."

Biniak seemed to put some of the blame on this situation on Microsoft's side of the fence and that Nokia is trying to get the Windows Phone team to work faster, saying:

We are releasing new devices frequently and for every new device, if there is an app that somebody cares about that's not there that's a missed opportunity of a sale. We are trying to evolve the cultural thinking [at Microsoft] to say 'time is of the essence.' Waiting until the end of your fiscal year when you need to close your targets, doesn't do us any good when I have phones to sell today.

Biniak's quotes would seem to echo a bit of what some other Windows Phone users are stating in recent message board posts on Microsoft's support forums, complaining that there's been a lack of new features added to Windows Phone 8 since it launched in November 2012. The forum messages got the attention of Windows Phone leader Joe Belfiore, who assured those forum readers that Microsoft is listening to their comments and that more updates for the OS are coming both in 2013 and in 2014.

The good news? Biniak seems to believe that the lack of important apps for Windows Phone will be a thing of the past, saying, "I don't think there will be any [app developers] we don't have commercial agreements with, and so maybe it's not published by the end of the year but it will be published before the end of [March]."

Source: International Business Times | Image via Nokia

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26 Comments

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Why doesn't Nokia go the google way and start developing Android phones? You will get the best of hardware and a mature app ecosystem. Nokia does produce amazing phones with excellent design - l personally love the bold colours and look. However, sticking with Windows only platform is just proving loss making for the time being.
That agreement which they got into when they decided to make business with Microsoft is just making them lose money and further market share.

about 4-5 months ago, paul thurott said microsoft was just going to pay off companies to get the big names apps,but then at the last minute decided against it. this is interesting on many fronts.

my theory is, they thought about what would happen then. everyone would demand payment or they will just withhold their app until that happens. it would set a bad precedent. then they would cite other companies getting paid and not them. I think companies started doing that regardless,and the whole instagram thing is politics. facebook wants some cash,and microsoft is refusing. nokia probably tried to pay up for instagram,but facebook also declines because they are in this battle with microsoft. one of them will eventually give in, but i think this comment by this nokia guy is very interesting. he says its not a matter of if, its a matter of when. i think they are pushing microsoft to just pay up and get it over and done with,but microsoft is standing their ground on this one.

If any of you commenters manage to read, you'll note that he isn't complaining about the pace of OS development, but rather app development. Basically, he's trying to get MS to bribe app devs more aggressively to move up their time tables. Not a bad idea, given that most WP8 apps are being developed by skeleton crews in various companies. Giving companies enough cash to hire a few more devs would speed things up and result in more quality apps.

you may care about features, but Nokia has said multiple times (MS too) that the problem is really app parity, and that's why people aren't willing to go to WP. a notification center won't sell as many phones as instagram, plain enough.

Facebook, Instagram, Google apps are out of Microsoft hand, it's strange that Nokia is passing the problem to MS. My thought is Google hates MS so no amount of money will make google develop app for WP. Facebook want to make their own mobile devices so obvious reason there's no urgency there. Instagram don't feel the rush to develop any apps as WP only 3% penetration.
Here's what I feel though, Nokia make a lot of difference with their camera such as Lumia 1020 that are locked to window phone. You can boast all you want that Android or iPhone has Instagram but Lumia got the best camera.
MS did a great job as far as outlook, skydrive, Skype, office, OS. Without RT, Intel has no motivation to rush Haswell. Without AMD, Intel will still be stuck with 1 core.

If Microsoft sped up to a Crawl it would be an improvement on what they're currently doing.

Nokia is doing all the work with this platform. If Microsoft don't want to do anything with it, maybe they should give it to Nokia to develop.

To maintain a tight ecosystem of devices it couldn't happen. WP's joy is its connectivity, not its apps.

The RT and WP teams aren't talking well enough.

Everyone but Microsoft knows they are moving too slowly, a good OS hampered by 3 years of mismanagement by Microsoft.

Then Nokia shouldn't hog all those "important apps" then should they, those apps should be available to the whole ecosystem not just Nokia!!!!!

neo158 said,
Then Nokia shouldn't hog all those "important apps" then should they, those apps should be available to the whole ecosystem not just Nokia!!!!!
It drives people to their brand. Frankly, it's been interesting to watch them dominate that way.

i agree, however, they are a leader and try to keep an advantage.


i wish MS would listen to comments even more and update the system, so there is a spike in popularity.... they every devepoler will jump on it.

So they should pay for them and the lazy OEMs should benefit? Maybe they should put some effort into improving the platform as well, then you'd have a point but as its Nokia doing all the work they fully deserve all the exclusives they get.

neo158 said,
Then Nokia shouldn't hog all those 'important apps' then should they, those apps should be available to the whole ecosystem not just Nokia
And why should Nokia do HTC and Samsung any favours by paying for/investing in app development? So far all apps have become available to all phones after a certain time. They even gave away the HERE suite now.. (although with limited functionality compared to the versions on Lumia).

paulheu said,
And why should Nokia do HTC and Samsung any favours by paying for/investing in app development? So far all apps have become available to all phones after a certain time. They even gave away the HERE suite now.. (although with limited functionality compared to the versions on Lumia).

Really, so aside from a couple of games and the HERE suite what others have been released to other Windows Phones. That's right, none of them!!

Yeah I'm agreeing with him.

I'd be ok with yearly releases, but if 8.1 isn't coming til next year, that's a year and a quarter without much added....

they are adding 1080 screens and quad core support and some stuff from 8.1 later this year, but really the article is referring to Apps in the store not the underlying OS.

I agree. People don't want small tweaks and under-the-hood improvements, they want improvements of things people think WP8 lacks! Like sound profiles, personal sounds for messages, a notification center, and many more things.

For some reason they aren't even making small improvements like a color picker for tiles and background color, screen orientation lock, file upload support in web-browser etc.

Sadly Microsoft appear to be holding back any features so they can show them off in the next 'major' version of WP.

Trouble is, most of these are catch up features, like the ones you have mentioned. If they're expecting us to stand up and applaud this a year from now, they're sadly mistaken.

Basically, that team needs a strategically placed Rocket.

erfanullah said,
For some reason they aren't even making small improvements like a color picker for tiles and background color, screen orientation lock, file upload support in web-browser etc.
The tile colour is either the system default (which you choose) or whatever the developer designs it to be. Screen orientation lock I agree with, file upload support is simply not possible in a sandbox based OS. The browser lacks the option to access files outside it's own space.