Microsoft's Windows Phone lags behind iOS and Android as a development platform among developers at WWDC, according to a new analyst report.
Windows Phone lags behind its competitors as an
app-development platform, according to data from a survey taken at the Apple
Worldwide Developers Conference earlier in June.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster surveyed some 45
developers at WWDC. "Note that our sample consists only of WWDC attendees who
are iOS developers and would naturally favor Apple's platform, but 47 [percent]
also develop on the Android platforms," he wrote in a June 13 research note.
"All of the 22 developers who develop on both iOS and Android prefer iOS for
monetization and ease of development."
How did Windows Phone fare in this environment? Some 13
percent of those surveyed also developed for Microsoft's platform, lagging
behind Research In Motion's BlackBerry platform at 36 percent and Android at 47
percent. Windows Phone did manage to surpass Hewlett-Packard's webOS platform
at 7 percent and Nokia's Symbian at 4 percent.
Some 9 percent of respondents also felt that Windows Phone
had the highest potential for growth, lagging Android at 40 percent and Apple's
iOS at 51 percent. In that case, Microsoft managed to surpass RIM, HP and
Nokia, whose respective platforms all scored a flat 0 percent.
At least one Microsoft executive has been encouraging
developers to charge more for their Windows Phone apps.
"I'd rather developers sell fewer than a million downloads
and get to a million dollars," Brandon Watson, Microsoft's director of
developer experience for Windows Phone, reportedly said
at a May press conference in Helsinki. "If we can support a higher price
point, that's good for developers."
Microsoft had also encouraged developers to charge more for
apps on its previous mobile platform, Windows Mobile 6.5. At the time, the
strategy was perceived as Microsoft's attempt to draw in any developers
frustrated with Apple's App Store, where broad swaths of apps are available for
free or 99 cents. In theory, that pricing trend makes it difficult for developers
to build an audience unless they price their wares at the same
point-effectively devastating their chance at substantial profits unless they
sell in bulk.
However, the continuing success of the App Store, as well as
Google's Android Marketplace, suggests that developers have little problem
selling their apps for a relatively low price.
In any case, Microsoft hasn't been betting on apps alone to
sell Windows Phone: The upcoming Mango release will supposedly add some 500 new
elements to the platform, including multitasking, a redesigned Xbox Live Hub,
visual voicemail, the ability to consolidate friends and colleagues into groups
within the "People" Hub, and Local Scout, which offers a view of everything to
see and do in a particular neighborhood.
Analysts are offering wildly different estimates of Windows
Phone's eventual market impact. According to research firm IDC, Microsoft's
platform will surpass Apple's iOS by 2015, although both will
continue to lag behind Android.
"Until Nokia begins introducing Windows Phone-powered
smartphones in large volumes in 2012, Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile will only
capture a small share of the market," reads the firm's June 9 research note,
"as the release of Mango-powered smartphones are not expected to reach the
market until late 2011."
Should the Nokia transition proceed smoothly, IDC expects
that Windows Phone will take some 20 percent of the smartphone market by 2015,
handily beating iOS (16.9 percent), BlackBerry OS (13.4 percent), undefined
"Others" (5.5 percent) and Nokia's soon-to-be-defunct Symbian (0.1 percent).
Google Android will continue to rule the roost, however, with an estimated 43.8
Of course, IDC's estimates hinge on Nokia transitioning
smoothly to Windows Phone, something a few analysts perceive as easier said
than done. Once the news emerged that Nokia planned on abandoning its Symbian
platform, sales of Symbian devices began a precipitous drop-and Nokia's Windows
Phone devices aren't expected to hit the market before the end of 2011.