Microsoft Expands Prizes For Next App Star Competition

Back in January we reported on Microsoft’s Windows Phone app contest, Next App Star. For those that don’t remember, basically it was a special contest that would give away $45,000 in prizes and even included a grand prize of letting the winning app be featured in a national Windows Phone TV commercial.

They aren’t done yet though, as today Microsoft took to the Windows Phone blog to announce they are expanding the Next App Star competition’s prizes, adding $15,000 worth of additional products up for grabs, taking the package total to $60,000.

What kind of stuff is given away to developers in this prize poll? Various things like wireless charging speakers, Sony Vaio Touchscreen ultrabooks, trips to Microsoft’s developer conference and more – says Microsoft.

As a reminder Microsoft is giving app developers until March 5th to submit their apps for consideration. A panel of judges will then cut the number of apps down to the top 64, and from there they will be open to public voting where they will be narrowed down further. First to 32, then 16, 8, 4 2 and finally the grand prize winner.

What’s even cooler is that those who are voting for the apps will also be eligible for prizes like a Nokia Lumia 920 every day during the voting period from March 19th to April 8th.

Why These Contests Matter

As I’ve mentioned in the past, these kinds of competitions are extremely important for a number of reasons. First, they encourage new developers (often smaller studios) to give Windows Phone a try and make them feel special. This helps earn big loyalty points, especially from these small developer groups.

Second, it helps win customer loyalty, too. Giving out prizes like the Lumia 920 just for participating in voting is a really big incentive to participate. Plus just letting their customers help pick apps that will end up in the Windows Phone store is a great PR move, too.

Microsoft doesn’t always get everything right, but what they seem to be getting right recently is appealing to developers by giving them support through both competitions and beyond. Additionally, the third benefit for Microsoft is that these competitions obviously bring in more apps.

What do you think of the Next App Star competition? Share your thoughts below.

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