Microsoft is said to be offering to pay developers of popular iPhone apps, particularly games, to port their wares to the upcoming Windows Phone 7 smartphone platform. As the release of Windows Phone 7 approaches, Microsoft is working hard to attract developers. At TechEd, Microsoft executives touted Windows Phone 7 as ideal for business-related applications. However, the platform faces substantial competition from Google Android and the Apple iPhone for consumers and business customers.
Microsoft has been offering to pay developers of popular iPhone applications
to port their wares to the upcoming Windows Phone 7 platform, according to
reports. Scheduled for release on a variety of devices later in 2010, Windows
Phone 7 is Microsoft's attempt to make up for the ground it has lost the
smartphone arena to competitors such as iPhone maker Apple.
One developer reportedly told the Website Pocketgamer.biz that Microsoft had
approached his colleagues about making their iPhone
games compatible with Windows Phone 7. The money being offered, according
to the article, was said to be "substantial."
Microsoft declined to directly confirm the rumors.
"We are working closely with a wide range of developers on mobile
applications," a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in a June 21 e-mail to
eWEEK. "We offer developers support and resources such as hardware, tools,
technical support, design assistance and in some cases limited financial
support, most commonly in the form of an advance on revenue."
However accurate, the report reflects Microsoft's ramped-up efforts to
prepare for the Windows Phone 7 launch; during June's TechEd conference, the
company also made an effort to push the platform to more business-centric
designers and enterprise customers.
Windows Phone 7 takes an altogether different viewpoint on the smartphone
user interface from competing products such as the Apple iPhone and Google
Android, which tend to present individual mobile applications on a menu-like
screen. Instead, Windows Phone 7 collates applications and Web content into
subject-specific "Hubs" such as "Office" or
"Games." Microsoft will pair the smartphone operating system with a
new Windows Phone Marketplace, where developers will be able to submit five
free applications (rising to $19.99 after that) along with an unlimited number
of paid applications.
At TechEd, Microsoft pushed a vision of Windows Phone 7 as primarily being
"More than 90 [percent] of our target customers for Windows Phone use
their smartphone for business purposes," Paul Bryan, a senior director of
Windows Phone at Microsoft, wrote June 7 on the
Windows Phone Blog, timed to the first day of TechEd, "and 61 percent
use their phones equally or more for business than personal use. This is why we
designed Windows Phone 7 to combine a smart new user interface with familiar
tools such as PowerPoint, OneNote, Excel and SharePoint into a single
integrated experience via the Office hub."
While Apple's App Store has run into a few widely publicized controversies
over its acceptance policies for applications, Microsoft, possibly taking a
lesson from Apple's experiences, is clearly delineating its own applications
policies from the very beginning. A list on Microsoft's
Windows Phone for Developers Website breaks down the company's mobile
content policies: In addition to forbidding applications that are libelous,
slanderous, threatening or discriminatory, Microsoft also bans applications
that somehow promote hate speech, the use of illegal drugs and excessive
alcohol consumption or violence, including, "People or creatures on
Depending on how stringently Microsoft polices its own applications
marketplace, the rule on violence could affect some of the more popular mobile
games, which involve a good deal of killing. Although Apple has banned several
explicit applications from its App Store, a number of games allow iPod Touch,
iPad and iPhone users to colorfully flash-fry zombies and aliens to their
In any case, the time for developers to decide whether to embrace Windows
Phone 7 is approaching. Brandon Watson, Microsoft's director of developer
experience for Windows Phone 7, wrote June 8 on his personal blog that Microsoft will "start putting phones into
select developers' hands next month," particularly those who have invested
in the Silverlight and .NET platforms,
registered at Windows Phone Marketplace, and begun their application-building
The big question for developers, however, will be whether they have the time
and resources to port their applications-often already developed at
considerable cost-over to a new platform undergirded by an entirely different
programming language. That issue alone may prevent some from jumping at the
chance to expand onto multiple platforms, no matter how enticing the money
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.