Microsoft Puts On a Charm Offensive to Lure iOS Developers

Last week, Microsoft held sessions with invited developers over two days at its Mountain View, California offices to try to lure iOS developers to code for the Windows 8 platform.

It is an unfamiliar position for Microsoft, who typically have no problems attracting developers to write applications for its operating systems.

That was then. This is now. With most app developers creating apps for iOS and Android, due to their market leading positions, Microsoft held the sessions to help iOS app developers understand what they could do with Windows 8.

The sessions were held only a few miles away from Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, and had several dozen developers attended in an auditorium, taking notes on Apple laptops and asking questions of the presenter.

The MIT Technology Review reports that while there was some effort to also promote Windows Phone 8 app development, the meetings focused more on Windows 8 for app development on tablets and notebooks.

One attendee was Tim Burks, founder of iOS app development and consulting company Radtastical. He had an overall positive view of Microsoft’s developer tools, calling them “stable, predictable, and well-documented”. He added;

“If you’re a professional dancer, would you want to dance on a stage with broken boards and holes on the floor?” he asks. “No, you want to dance on a stage that’s clean and organized. That’s what these guys—especially Apple, and it looks like Microsoft—are like.”

The MIT Technology Review reports that Windows 8 was well received in general, noting;

Those in attendance were also drawn to the looks of Microsoft’s latest releases. While Apple has a long-term commitment to skeuomorphic design—making on-screen buttons and bookshelves look nearly real enough to touch—developers at the event expressed admiration for the crisp, uncluttered look of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

The one problematic issue was the difference between Windows 8 RT and Windows Phone 8. While app developers only code to iOS for both Apple’s iPad and iPhone (similar to Android), Windows 8 developers have to create two different apps to cover both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8.

That aspect was confusing to Todd Barker, whose company, Cannae Global Systems, is creating entertainment apps for iOS and wants to put them onto multiple platforms.

Microsoft’s app count is still well below those of Apple and Google. While iOS and Android have over 750,000 apps in their stores, Microsoft is yet to hit the 100,000 mark.

Sessions like this are therefore timely and Microsoft will want to make it as easy as it can for app developers to deliver apps for Windows 8 as soon as possible.

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