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Windows Phone 8 Having Trouble Attracting Developers 268

colinneagle writes "Microsoft has promised that cross-platform development across the 8s – from Windows 8 on a desktop to Windows Phone 8 – will be a simple matter, but that's still not enough to get some developers moving on Windows Phone 8 support. The Windows Phone platform has made a remarkable recovery since its reset with version 7. Since then, WP7 has grown to 100,000 apps. But that pales in comparison to the 675,000 in Google Play and 700,000 in the Apple App Store. Granted, there's a ton of redundancy – how many weather or newsfeed apps does one person need? – but it points to availability and developer support. A report from VentureBeat points out what should be obvious: that while developers like Windows 8, they aren't as excited about Windows Phone 8 software because they have already made huge investments in other platforms and don't want to support another platform. A survey by IDC and Appcelerator found 78% of Android developers were 'very interested' in programming for Android smartphones, a slight drop from the 83% in a prior survey. Interest in the iPhone and iPad remained undiminished, with 89% and 88% interest, respectively."
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Windows Phone 8 Having Trouble Attracting Developers

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  • Developers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @02:48PM (#41820913)

    The correct response to this kind of press is to say "We have developers! Tons of developers! They're falling out of the sky, honest!" The smart phone market long ago stopped being about features and now turns on the number of apps. All the phones have GPS, megapixel cameras, touch screen interface, etc. In terms of hardware features, they're largely the same. So they have to differentiate themselves on the basis of apps. And what kinds of apps are popular? Games.

    People loooove screwing off at work with Angry Birds and Farmville. So the smart phone market is not that much different from the game console market in that regard: Sales of hardware are based on how many new and exciting games are available for that platform. Now yes, it is in reality not that simple -- the app market isn't just games, but the idea is the same: The number of popular apps is strongly correlated to the number of units shipping. So regardless of how many developers the platform has, Microsoft needs to be out there screaming "Developers! We have them! Oh yes, developers, developers, developers!" Preferrably without monkey man on stage saying it, but even a dancing fat guy is better than nothing.

    That's the only strategy that will work if Microsoft doesn't want another dead on arrival platform launch. Sorta like, say, the Dreamcast.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @02:50PM (#41820953)

    Windows 8 has been a PR disaster for a while now and it has the reek of failure all over it. Microsoft is really good at a lot of things but selling their damn products to the average consumer isn't one of them.

    Now that I've had a bit of experience with 8 I like some things but the point is I shouldn't be discovering stuff like this at arms reach, they have to start making things sexy if they want to attract users, which in turn attracts developers.

  • Re:Herp? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @02:57PM (#41821073)

    No. Companies practically give away apps so that they can steal/exploit users' personal information and use that to make money. This is the 21st century business model.

  • Re:Well, Yeah (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @03:02PM (#41821137)

    Our potential dev project for Windows Phone 8 is roadblocked at the moment since the SDK requires Windows 8 installed (and pro for the emulators). Obviously, none of us have Windows 8 installed on our computers at the moment - I'm very happy with Win7 personally, and leery of 8 from the previews - so getting the SDK up and running is pretty much impossible at this point.

    I totally agree with your point, since all the prototyping we did for our Windows Phone 8 project was in Visual Studio 2010, targeting Windows Phone 7.5, on Win7 machines. None of that is actually useful right now. Surprise, surprise.

    I guess this is true for any potential development house right now. If they want to develop for Windows Phone 8, they have to invest in a windows 8 computer and phone. I know everyone at BUILD got those for free, but that doesn't really help everyone else.

  • by gtirloni ( 1531285 ) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @03:08PM (#41821201)
    Looks like it. Since they are saying WP8 has >100k apps. They must be counting WP7 apps. []
  • I can tell you why. (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @03:23PM (#41821381)

    Desktops/laptops = Windows 7.

    Tablets/phones = Android.

    Windows 8 is a bloated gas bag attempt at trying to force a market into buying a product that is not only a step backwards, but its also a closed minded pile of shit with that windows marketplace crap, it does nothing to improve gaming experince, its clumsy to use at best and basically just a piece of shit operating system.

    They wont get developers for it really because no one wants to wants to waste, time, energy and resources on operating system that sucks and the alternatives are far superior with a larger user base.

    Youd be a retard to sink time and money into windows 8.

  • Their own fault (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @03:30PM (#41821497)
    I wanted to port our App a month ago.

    Nope, no access to the SDK, besides the lucky few MS chose to grant access to.

    If you want developers to build for it, you have to provide them the tools.
  • Re:Well, Yeah (Score:4, Interesting)

    by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @04:25PM (#41822429) Journal

    Windows Mobile was a better platform in many regards than Windows Phone 7. 95% of the programs I had for the earliest WM hardware and software ran fine on WM 6.5 (a span of nearly a decade), and they cost a fraction of the apps for Android, iOS or WP7. Microsoft is right to drop legacy support periodically, but they shouldn't have done it between 6 and 7 and again between 7 and 8.

    I agree with your last sentence, but the problem with windows mobile wasn't the apps, it was the framework. It was maddening to have to reboot two or three times a day, squint at walking menus, and deal with "some unnamed application has done something bad and will now be excoriated" popups. The final straw for me was when the audio driver would periodically get wedged, which meant the phone would not ring. I was regularly on call, and a phone that refuses to ring is a career liability.

  • by zaxbowow ( 1590757 ) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @05:38PM (#41823889)
    VB6 dead? My VB6 apps, with my updates to support registry and file virtualization, run flawlessly under Windows 8. Silverlight dead? Silverlight 5 was only released a few months ago, and supports out-of-browser AND in-browser COM automation. Good luck approaching that functionality with any other technology. Silverlight powers WP7 and some pretty awesome websites. If I wanted to start a new website that was more impressive than anything, was a mature technology with lots of examples and free open source libs available, and ran on PCs and Macs (99% of the market?), I'd use it in a heartbeat. Deserted developers? MY ASS. Microsoft supports developers and legacy code better than any technology company. Period.
  • Re:Herp? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tftp ( 111690 ) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @05:54PM (#41824119) Homepage

    Never underestimate the power of *cheap*!

    Android is as cheap as it ever going to be ($zero.) Is MS going to pay OEMs for using their Win8?

    Windows RT is going to cost an estimated $85 per copy to your average OEM. A Windows 8 Professional license on x86 will be considerably more. [link []]

    I can buy a whole tablet now for $99 or even less, and - imagine that - the hardware is included in the price!

    Google can release Android for free because it is not the product, it's the grease in the data mining machine that Google runs. The daily bread does not come from Android OEMs, it comes from billions of ad clicks and other services. But MS cannot do that, they are a software house and they can't give their software away. As result they will not be able to compete. I cannot imagine why they even entered this market - this is a race to the bottom, and the software is already comfortably sitting at that bottom.

    If I were MS I would be porting MS own products to Android and iOS. That's where MS's wares are viable. MS Office for Android - the true office - would be a killer application. Days of Windows are numbered, and while Windows will bring many more millions of dollars in revenue, its end is visible. Tablets are running on free software already. What's the point of even going there?

  • Re:Well, Yeah (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dudpixel ( 1429789 ) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @10:46PM (#41826657)

    What? you want to develop for windows phone 8 but you don't want to shell out $39 for windows 8? not even on 1 machine?

    I see the problem, and it isn't just microsoft at fault.

    And you say that "obviously none of us have windows 8" except that the date is oct 31 and windows 8 was released on oct 26. There is nothing obvious about it at all except that you want to be successful on windows 8 without paying $39 to get started.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire