It’s no secret that Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform isn’t seeing a whole lot of market success, despite having been available in its revamped form back in 2010. Even a strong partnership with Nokia on their Lumia series of smartphones hasn’t given the platform the traction that Microsoft would like. Three years in, the latest NetMarketShare data still shows Windows Phone at just 1.21% of the total U.S. smartphone market.
Microsoft is looking to change all that however. And how? The way they’ve always tried to change things – with big bags of money! According to Ars Technica, citing a Bloomberg report, Microsoft has resorted to actively bribing – practically begging – developers with cash payments upwards of $100k to get them to offer their apps on Windows Phone.
Casey Johnston, reporting for Ars Technica:
Microsoft is paying developers up to $100,000 to get their applications over to the Windows Phone 8 platform, according to a report from Bloomberg Businessweek. This is in addition to a promotion the company is running where it will pay any developer to get their app into the Windows Store ASAP in an effort to catch up to the iOS and Android app stores.
[…]But Microsoft has even more money to throw at the problem of an underpopulated app store. Sources speaking to Bloomberg said that Microsoft has “been offering $100,000 or more” to companies for building Windows phone apps. Windows Phone chief marketing officer Thom Gruhler told Bloomberg that the store now contains 48 of the 50 most-downloaded apps across all platforms, with Pinterest and Instagram as the holdouts.
While this might lure a few large developers, throwing cash at the problem isn’t a great way for Microsoft to boost developer interest in Windows Phone. In the smartphone world, it’s all about the user. If you build a unique, engaging smartphone that gets consumers excited, sales of such smartphones – and thus, market share – will increase. If you have to bribe developers to embrace you’re platform you’re doing it wrong.
In short, this REEKS of desperation. I sincerely hope for their sake that Microsoft changes their focus away from throwing cash around, and toward getting consumers excited about their platform.