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Microsoft Pursues WebOS Devs, Offers Free Phones 209

CWmike writes "Taking advantage of Hewlett-Packard's departure from the tablet and smartphone market, Microsoft has offered webOS developers free phones, tools and training to create apps for Windows Phone 7. Brandon Watson, Microsoft's senior director of Windows Phone 7 development, made the offer on Twitter on Friday, and has been fielding queries ever since. 'To Any Published WebOS Devs: We'll give you what you need to be successful on #WindowsPhone, incl. free phones, dev tools, and training, etc.,' Watson said a day after HP's announcement. Before Friday was out, Watson said he had received more than 500 emails from interested developers, and later, that the count was closing in on 600."
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Microsoft Pursues WebOS Devs, Offers Free Phones

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  • by Trillan ( 597339 ) on Monday August 22, 2011 @03:47PM (#37170562) Homepage Journal

    'll give you what you need to be successful on #WindowsPhone, incl. free phones, dev tools, and training, etc"

    Success being, of course, a relative term. I would like to think that developers having their plans broken by WebOS's collapse would make future plans based more on market size and what success on a platform would actually look like rather than free hardware and an emotional outreach. But maybe not; after all, they developed for WebOS to begin with.

    • by Locutus ( 9039 )
      I would think they'd be asking about the hooks involved and if they'd get a free phone they could hack or pawn just saying "yes" and nothing more. I'm with the other /. post saying they already got the rug pulled out from under on a small market project and might want more security than Microsoft promises. We all know what Microsoft promises are worth.

  • You could have just downloaded everything you needed for free... The only fee is for listing in the Ovi store.

    I never got how you could bounce around on stage like a monkey yelling "developers" and still charge people to develop on your platform.

    • The only fee is for listing in the Ovi store.

      And for those who don't know, the Ovi store is an optional, separate, curated store for commercial apps.

    • The only fee is for listing in the Ovi store.

      MeeGo is not tied to the Ovi Store. The Ovi store will be used only by MeeGo-Harmattan, which is a "compatible" OS based off Maemo that includes all the Qt APIs of MeeGo (but no others.)

      Also, MeeGo needs a handset developer that isn't Nokia.

    • Someone appears to have obtained some more common sense over at MS and the basic dev tools including the IDE are free nowadays.

      See? It even comes with Expression Blend. []

    • I never got how you could bounce around on stage like a monkey yelling "developers" and still charge people to develop on your platform.

      You've always been able to freely develop for Windows. It's not as if you've HAD to have Visual Studio to do so. Secondly, for most software companies the cost of Visual Studio is a drop in the bucket in comparison to even 1 week of all their programmer's salaries combined.

      • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

        Not to mention, the cost of Visual Studio is also a drop in the bucket compared to what it used to cost to license a C/C++ compiler from the big commercial Unix vendors, which didn't even come with an IDE. It's not as if Microsoft invented the idea that developers should have to pay something for commercial tools.

    • by godrik ( 1287354 )

      But is there actually any meego phone I can buy ? Or a meego tablet ? As far as I understood, it is still in dvelopment.

      • It's as "in development" as any Linux distribution and the components that it is composed of. Currently the last significant point release was 1.2, which stabilized the compliance rules and APIs. Work is underway on 1.3.

  • Microsoft should try to get their hands on the webOS IP as well. WebOS was really cool, and MS could really shake things up in the mobile OS market if they were to start integrating webOS features into their mobile OS. Their growing market share might force Google and Apple to come up with similar features once Windows Phone 7 gets a large user base.
  • by VisibleSchlong ( 2422274 ) on Monday August 22, 2011 @03:53PM (#37170642) []

    Only the effectively dead Symbian is keeping Microsoft out of last place in the cellphone market right now.

    Free stuff is nice, but developers aren't going to waste their time on a dying platform like Windows Phone 7.

    • Is the viability of the platform really a marketshare issue or is it really about installed base?

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        It doesn't matter for Windows 7, it never had marketshare, so it has a miniscule and shrinking installed base.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Imbrondir ( 2367812 )

      Kept out of last place by Symbian? Only in the US. According to this [] analyst, worldwide WP7 has around 1% smartphone marketshare. Symbians "effectively dead" OS still had around 15% in Q2, outselling WP7 15 to 1.

      Not to take away the point of your post of course, but the situation for WP7 seems actually much worse than what your link projects

    • WinMo is dying. WP7 is rising. Currently the death of WinMo is faster than the rise of WP7, but that's not actually so surprising to me - WinMo was a mature but outdated platform, and WP7 is new and still somewhat immature (in terms of app store size, APIs, etc.). They're also in totally different niches, though - WP7 is much closer to the iOS style of walled garden (hopefully with a bit more transparency) while WinMo was closer to Android or even Maemo; not open source, but you could write and publish what

    • I'm reserving judgement until Netcraft confirms it.
  • WebOS is the new beOS. A lot of people like it, but never really quite good enough to get mass market share. Then after its death developers spread across different platform and introducing a lot of beOS's goodness across many OS's

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      Actually WebOS was good enough. The SDK at least the first release was crippled and then HP... Well HP spent 1.2 Billion on it and then waited a year to ship products that where already in the pipeline. The Pre3 should have shipped 8 months ago an should have the Touchpad.

  • You have to be really desperate to pick up the devs of a dead platform so that you can succeed.

  • Much as I loathe Microsoft, I think that their platform is one of the front-runners for developers at the moment. As a developer, I would not touch Microsoft even with a 10 foot pole though, mainly because the platform receives more 'bad press coverage' than good at present.

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      You mean it is is in the top three or four?
      I find it amusing because Microsoft is in the same boat that it has put every other OS in since the DOS days.
      A large number of users have already gone to Android and IOS. They have the most apps and support. Not to mention that a lot of people on Android are fully intwined in the Google ecosystem of gmail, google music, google plus, and so on.
      Microsoft now has to so much better than everything else that people will go through the pain of leaving. Today new smartpho

  • Good call (Score:4, Funny)

    by nilbog ( 732352 ) on Monday August 22, 2011 @04:02PM (#37170768) Homepage Journal

    This is a great call - those developers turned Web OS into the wildly successful platform it is today.

    • From everything I've heard about webOS, the platform itself is excellent from both user experience and technical standpoint. It was poor marketing and strategy that killed it.

      • My understanding was that it was laggy on the touchpad and suffered from lackluster hardware both in design and performance on the phones.
        • by saihung ( 19097 )

          The only thing wrong with it on phones, as far as I can see, are that the bluetooth stack sucks butt and that the bundled PDF reader is kind of rubbish. The cut-and-paste facility is also kind of lackluster. But for most everything I do, the experience has been good. I enjoy using the UI, it's not especially laggy.

          • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

            You responded to a comment about "lackluster hardware" with two comments about software. Every review of a webOS phone I've read has said the phone feels kind of cheap and flimsy, the specs are sub-average when compared to competing phones, and this or that is a little buggy, but it shows a lot of promise and the next phone ought to make a real dent in the market once they get the kinks ironed out. Of course, we waited and waited, but there was no next phone.

        • I bought the touchpad on the weekend. I don't really have anything to compare it with, but I don't have any complaints about the UI performance. Some apps don't scroll particularly smoothly, but most do so I think it's an app-specific issue. Reading slashdot works just fine.

          I've seen comments that some of the "homebrew" apps can make a significant difference in the apparent speed of the system--among other things the stock WebOS leaves a lot of logging enabled that doesn't need to be.

  • by CHK6 ( 583097 ) on Monday August 22, 2011 @04:10PM (#37170870)
    When looking at the apples, oranges, and other fruit in the basket of mobile operating systems.... I would think developers that wanted to or were developing for webOS would be more inclined to focus more on Android over Windows Phone. The WebOS was already on the fringe and Windows 7 for the phone was already at their disposal of choice. So moving from WebOS to Windows is well yucky feeling.

    That's like asking BeOS or Amiga developers to migrate to Windows over say BSD or Linux.
    • You act as if its an Either/Or situation.

      The developers that were targeting WebOS were certainly already also targeted Android and iOS.
      • I'll just keep writing code for viable platforms like iOS and Android instead of wasting time fiddling around with a flop like wp7 with its whopping 1 percent market share worldwide. In seriousness, why would I spend 1 minute of dev time porting to windows phone when I can use that precious time to write more apps for the successful platforms?
        • Agreed. WimPy7s skills won't even translate to a decent mediocre 9-5 job in the mobile market as most will want iPhone or Android experience. The time you invest in your skills must have near maximum payoff, and it's not in WimPy7s.

    • I would think developers that wanted to or were developing for webOS would be more inclined to focus more on Android over Windows Phone. The WebOS was already on the fringe and Windows 7 for the phone was already at their disposal of choice. So moving from WebOS to Windows is well yucky feeling.

      That's a good point. Microsoft should come up with some sort of campaign to win these developers over. They could maybe even include free phones, dev tools, and training, etc.

    • by caywen ( 942955 )

      Well, it's a fair bit more complicated than that. You wouldn't necessarily want to write for a platform that has 15 apps just like yours, even if there are 20 times as many potential customers. It does sense to target a platform where you'd be unique.

  • since their tools are free already.

    • Nevermind. Ignore previous comment.

      free phones, tools and training

      Does one have to pay licensing costs to develop for WP7?

      • Like iOS -- $99 a year to get your apps published.
      • The tools, including Express version of Visual Studio and a GUI-creation tool called Expression Blend, and an emulator, are already free. There's typically a $100 fee to publish apps to the marketplace - this is the same as on iOS, I believe (could be outdated info). That covers things like the cost of certifying apps for publication.

        The phones are obviously not typically free, unless you get a good deal on a new two-year contract.

  • by moderators_are_w*nke ( 571920 ) on Monday August 22, 2011 @04:16PM (#37170952) Journal

    The market share of WebOS has just gone ballistic. $99 a tablet - genius.

    • by Dracos ( 107777 )

      From what I can see, most of the people who are snatching up the cheap TouchPads are developers/modders who realize:

      • What a steal they are are $99 and $149
      • They won't last long (if they're not gone already)

      Android will be ported to TouchPad well before the end of the year. HP's exit from the tablet market only damaged Motorola and Samsung tablet sales, and only for a short while. What they should learn from this is that they can't sell non-iPads tablets at iPad prices.

      • Must be the crowd you run in. Most of the people I've seen either don't know what they're doing with them, are going to use it as a basic internet/ebook reader, or are going to flip on ebay/craigslist for $200. A lot of them also seem to be people who never bought an iPad because it was too expensive or never really figured out why they needed one. I expect to see a steady state of these things on ebay for a while to come as soon as people realize they actually don't need the damn things.
      • These are also people who are willing to support the tablet themselves. Most consumers will stay away from a discontinued product for lack of support.
    • by Amouth ( 879122 )

      with a large share of the people who bought them trying to figure out how to get webOS off of it.

    • come to think of it - 250,000 webOS tablets sold means it has a larger market share than Windows Phone 7!

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972