Microsoft is still trying to expand the number of apps available to purchase and download on the Windows Phone Marketplace. Now it seems like the company is willing to fund the development of some third party apps for the mobile OS. According to a New York Times article, Microsoft has financed the creation of Windows Phone apps for companies such as Foursquare and the Cheezeburger Network.
The article says that, according to app developers, it would normally cost between $60,000 to $600,000 to fund the making of a Windows Phone app on their own. Indeed, Foursquare's head of business development Holger Luedorf admits that the company would have likely not have made a Windows Phone app for their services without Microsoft's monetary assistance.
For example, Facebook did not actually make its own official Windows Phone app. The development team that did create the app was funded by Microsoft. Facebook certified the app before it was released.
For its part, a Microsoft rep admitted that it has offered "incentives" to Windows Phone developers but would not officially name any third party apps that Microsoft has funded on its own. The company also offers some app developers free phones for development along with promises of having some choice spots in Windows Phone Marketplace and being included in Windows Phone advertising.