Will Microsoft still struggle to get more Windows Phone apps after Nokia deal?

Outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer helped to broker the Nokia acquisition.

Microsoft's recently announced deal to acquire Nokia's Devices and Services division shows the company is serious about competing with Apple and Google in the smartphone industry. However, even though Microsoft will be making its own Windows Phone devices after the Nokia deal is completed, it may still struggle to get mobile app developers to come over to make software for the operating system.

A new article from Bloomberg claims to have interviewed a dozen mobile app developers and they state that the current lack of users for Windows Phone is keeping them away. An example is cited by William Hurley, the co-founder of Chaotic Moon. While the company has released Windows Phone apps in the past, Hurley said that in-game app purchases for its free-to-play game Dragon Academy generate more revenue in an hour for the iOS version than all of the money made by Chaotic Moon’s Windows Phone apps in a year. Hurley states, "What basket would you put your eggs?”

Not every developer believes that scenario. David Peroutka of Hexage, which has released a number of Windows Phone games along with iOS and Android versions, told Neowin in an email today, "We don't see the [Nokia] acquisition as a major reason to support or not to support the Windows Phone platform. The user base for Windows Phone is rapidly increasing (especially in Europe) and we're already seeing very strong downloads and conversions -- which will bring more developers to the platform eventually."

Jaakko Maaniemi of developer 10tons told Neowin that both Microsoft and Nokia have offered the company "significant marketing and technical support" for its Windows Phone 8 apps. He added, "Microsoft, as the platform holder, has obviously been able to do a bit more for us than Nokia as a single device manufacturer, so I don't think Nokia leaving the game will impact us much. If anything, Microsoft might be able to help out on technical stuff even more in the future, as they will also have in-house hardware manufacturing."

Windows Phone has 175,000 apps, compared to 900,000 for iOS and more than a million for Android. Microsoft has tried to get major apps to come to the platform by paying for their development or, in the case of the official Facebook app, making big-name apps themselves. Microsoft's Windows Phone VP Joe Belfiore claims that after the company takes over Nokia's smartphone business, it will help speed up the development of new phones. Microsoft also plans to launch more app promotions, such as pre-installing apps in the devices.

Earlier this week, Nokia itself announced it was expanding its DVLUP program, designed to encourage the creation of more Windows Phone apps, beyond the U.S. and Canada to over 20 more countries. The program uses a "gamification" method to spur developers by awarding them with things like XP and badges if they complete different challenges.

Many developers want Microsoft to succeed, if only so they can have a viable third app platform besides iOS and Android. One suggestion is for Microsoft to help make apps cost less to develop, and another is for the company to bring in more enterprise-themed apps, since a lot of companies already use Windows at the workplace.

Image via Nokia

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Its already happening with RT, it looks like it is happening for Windows Phone as well. Why would an OEM want to be up against MS? Especially when both products are not producing sales that look to be worth the effort.

"Many developers want Microsoft to succeed, if only so they can have a viable third app platform besides iOS and Android".

I don't think most developers look forward to having to learn to develop for a new platform. This is why, back in the Windows days, Macs and Linux had far fewer apps than Windows. It is the other way around now, and I don't see it changing any time soon.

Yes.

Really it's just going to take time, as more an more people buy Windows Phones, more and more devs will make apps for it. Another thing that would help is a unified Windows Store, but even then userbase still trumps anything else.

Anecdotally, I've been seeing more and more random people with Windows Phones recently (all Lumias too) than I have ever in the past. It's still not many at all, but it seems to fit with the idea that they're slowly increasing their userbase.

I'm not sure why the article tries to say that the Nokia deal would make it harder to convince more developers. Developers don't care about who puts out the phones as long as there is enough of them to sell to.

WP clearly still has work to do in order to catch up with iOS and Android, but at the same time, the situation has steadily improved, so that points to a strong future as long as MS stays aggressive in courting devs, putting out phones, and improving the OS.

Developers are finding success on WP, its just that it still hasn't reached that critical mass level that would force all developers to seriously consider supporting WP along with iOS and Android. Again, things are better now, but it still needs to grow. One positive about being a new platform like WP is that developers do have a chance to reach users before they are buried among a tidal wave of apps like you see on mature markets like iOS, so there is some draw in that respect.

So yeah, I think the situation will continue to improve until WP is also offering a mature app market.

Another windows phone hit piece? what else is new? if there isn't one at least every week, then something is wrong. tech "journalism", cough*, has become a joke.

oh what is this?

Windows Phone outperforms iPhone for Indie Game Developer


Today I want to share details of the success of one indie game developer, QONQR (pronounced conquer), that bases their revenue model on in-app purchase. The CEO of QONQR, Scott Davis, tells us that they have experienced up to 10x the weekly downloads and 2x the revenue on Windows Phone compared to their iOS version of the game, which was released in the same month in 2012.

http://blogs.windows.com/windo...r-indie-game-developer.aspx

Of course, these figures can be spun in another way, too. If the Windows Phone version is generating ten times the weekly downloads of iOS, then you might expect its revenue rate to be far higher than double that of the iPhone version's.

That effectively means that, QONQR monetises at a far higher rate per user on iOS than it does on Windows Phone, and if the developer behind it could master its visibility on Apple's platform and up its download rate, its revenues could jump majorly.

Just gonna leave this here...

Nokia made an important contribution in terms of high quality applications for the ecosystem. Just think about the fantastic HERE Transit, Here Drive+ and Nokia Pro Cam. These apps are platform defining.

It may not necessarily be more than Microsoft yet but still, it is significant.

It is clear Microsoft has to increase the velocity in this area. And thanks to the Bing team for their fantastic suite.

Meanwhile, the recent "towel-throwing" attitude with YouTube is absolutely unacceptable.

"I won't make apps for this platform because there aren't enough users"
"I won't buy this phone because there aren't enough apps"

Takes one of them to pony up and stop being babies. That said I couldn't give less fks about not having "Dragon Academy" on my splendid WP8 device.

stevan said,
I think this article is more about developers seeing a return on their investment.

Well you guarantee yourself zero if you don't actually do anything.

Microsoft should just create a compiler that allows android apps to compile to Windows Phone, it uses an open source model and is definitely possible. That would solve the app situation. Not saying it would be easy but it is definitely feasible with their resources.

KibosJ said,
Surely, then we have hideous looking android apps in the windows store.... No Thanks

Android has a lot of great apps. Many of them quite nice looking too.

Much more money in iOS than WP store. Of course developers will develop for the platform that can make them their money back much sooner.

stevan said,
Much more money in iOS than WP store. Of course developers will develop for the platform that can make them their money back much sooner.

True but then both app stores are somewhat saturated.

Bloomberg has become a joke. The problem with "free" news sites is none of them can make any money so they need to create infomercial and link bait articles rather than real news.

Are you denying that WP has a hard time getting app developers to care about it? Even the people who love WP will admit that apps are lacking

Rudy said,
Even the people who love WP will admit that apps are lacking

Some people. I haven't personally run into "I wish my phone had this app."

Rudy said,
Are you denying that WP has a hard time getting app developers to care about it? Even the people who love WP will admit that apps are lacking

Missing the point. This articles claims a conclusion talking to 12 people. That's fake news.

Spicoli said,

Missing the point. This articles claims a conclusion talking to 12 people. That's fake news.

"Hurley said that in-game app purchases for its free-to-play game Dragon Academy generate more revenue in an hour for the iOS version than all of the money made by Chaotic Moon's Windows Phone apps in a year.

These are developers, not random people on the street. Microsoft should be paying attention to evey single one of them.

"Hurley said that in-game app purchases for its free-to-play game Dragon Academy generate more revenue in an hour for the iOS version than all of the money made by Chaotic Moon's Windows Phone apps in a year. Hurley states, "What basket would you put your eggs?”

That explains a lot

They already struggle.... And not only on WP, but also for Win8 Modern (important for Surface RT and Surface 2 and soon, Nokia tablet).

TruckWEB said,
They already struggle.... And not only on WP, but also for Win8 Modern (important for Surface RT and Surface 2 and soon, Nokia tablet).

I would say they struggle more so on WPhone than they do with Win8.

There are certain apps on the Win8 store that are non existent on Windows Phone store. And it seems as though whatever makes the leap to Win8 store first eventually comes to WP8.

Remember, with Win8 store being available on tons of PCs and tablets they claim a larger user base a lot faster than WP8. Those larger numbers on Win8 bring in developer support much faster.