What If: Microsoft Paid App Developers To Create Apps?

With the looming arrival of Surface with Windows 8 Pro tablet, the Surface RT has had ample time in the sunshine to finally be judged. Latest estimates put Surface RT sales number at 1 million units (since its October 2012 launch) while most analysts expected Microsoft to shift twice as many.

What went wrong? We take a look at various what-if scenarios in this short series. Read the entire series here: Part 1.

 

A nicely stocked app store is widely considered as being essential for the success of any mobile platform. The leader in this realm is Apple with over 775,000 apps in its iOS App Store, and Google Play not that far behind. Other platforms are several leagues behind.

Apps, and in some cases exclusive apps, go a long way in solidifying public opinion about a platform.

Microsoft is still pretty mum on the official number of apps on the Windows Store (we may very well hear from them once the counter hits 100,000), but according to independent sources like MetroStore Scanner, there are 38,912 apps available at the time of this writing.

Leading up to the release of Windows 8 and Surface RT, Microsoft populated the Windows Store with a scattering of in-house developed apps in various categories โ€” from Business to Productivity. Third-party developers took over from there.

However several high profile apps and games are still missing, and sorely missed, particularly by Surface RT users. Could Microsoft have done something differently in this regard? How about hosting a contest or special promotion to bring in (quality) app submissions?

The estimated $1.5 billion that the Redmond giant has set aside for promotion, how about taking say $120 million (or even a lower amount), and put up a $10 million per month kitty to be shared among app developers. To tidy out low quality submissions out only enter pre-approved high quality apps.

Research In Motionโ€™s BlackBerry App World store recently held a mini contest, which offered developers $100 apiece to bring their existing apps to the BlackBerry 10 platform. And guess what it achieved? 15,000 new submissions in just 37.5 hours! Crazy, eh?

There is no denying that the apps will come. Windows Phone was a new platform, but Windows is far too big a market for people to ignore โ€” for long.

But with a little smart strategizing, Microsoft could have made a lot of app developers happy. And happy app developers mean happy customers, a healthy ecosystem, and ultimately a very successful platform.

  • voleheart

    i agree. completely

    • Fahad Ali

      Aye. ๐Ÿ™‚ What Windows 8 (and particularly Windows RT) needs right now
      are attention grabbing exclusive apps and games. Sadly that is too much
      to ask when at least 9 out of 10 applications over there are either low
      quality or clones.

      I love the Windows Store and have high hopes
      for it this year, but it should starting showing some action soon.
      Microsoft totally missed the boat on this one, probably in its naivety –
      it’s new to the tablet game, after all.

  • Alphere

    Aren’t they holding a contest for app development already? The latest one I heard was the one where the winner’s app will be featured in a commercial.

    • Fahad Ali

      Yeah, but I was expecting something more elaborate and on a much larger scale. If RIM can send out crisp $100 bills to app developers, Microsoft can do a lot better.

      Something like how Amazon sets aside a kitty every month that is then distributed among authors for their books that are borrowed.