Microsoft Teams with Nokia, Spends $23 Million on App Developers

Here’s a piece of good news for developers eyeing the Windows 8 market.  Microsoft has decided to team up with Nokia and Aalto University in Finland to help Windows 8 developers bring great apps to market.

The three partners have created AppCampus, a mobile app accelarator program to provide training, coaching, and marketing and distribution support.

To lubricate the operation, Microsoft will invest around $23 million over three years in the form of cash awards ranging from $25,000 to $90,000 to applicants seeking to create Windows 8 apps.

Microsoft is doing this partly to attack the problem of a lack of apps for the Windows 8 platform compared to iOS and Android. The lack of apps is a major complaint users and potential customers have had against Windows 8.

For developers, a major benefit – other than the cash – is that Microsoft will not take any equity in the participating companies or app.  It would be a wonderful opportunity for new companies seeking to get into app development on the Windows 8 platform.

For many other companies though, this simply won’t work.  Microsoft has included an exclusivity deal on the developed app – for 6 months no less.  So for a company seeking to develop for iOS and Android within that 6 month period, they cannot take the grant.

Also, for developers with an existing app on another platform e.g., Android or iOS seeking merely to port the app over to Windows 8, no can do.  This is not allowed.  The app must be solely on Windows 8.

I see Microsoft’s point here in making sure larger developers with apps on other platforms are excluded.  Imagine giving a grant to Google to port Google Maps!  Big players by definition, don’t need it.

The problem is that there are much smaller developers who lack resources, but who could (and would) port great apps from other platforms to Windows 8 if they had the cash.  SUch folks are excluded.  Here’s what a small developer had to say on Microsoft’s website;

 The requirement for the App not already being in a competitive alternative Mobile platform is a deal killer for us. We have the preeminent App in our product space, would consider doing a Windows Port but we refuse to cut-off the tiny bit of revenue we are receiving from Apple to take the leap of faith needed to invest a couple of developer years building out our App for the Windows App Market Place. Please reconsider this requirement, it’s a deal breaker.

In any case, despite these flaws, this is a step in the right direction for Microsoft, putting in seed money that could result in great apps for their new platform. Assuming they spend $40,000 on each developer, that would be almost 600 new apps exclusive to the Windows 8 platform.

Next, let’s see some price cuts for the Surface and Surface Pro!

What do you think about AppCampus?

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