More details on how MS went about getting developers to build Windows Phone apps have surfaced. Apparently Popcap (makers of Bejeweled and Plants v Zombies) was offered $100k to bring their games to Windows Phone – and they turned it down. There were strings attached to the money and they felt that they’d make more money back with a successful product line than with the strings. Ultimately, they brought Bejeweled to WP7 on their own.
Also, Foursquare was not going to launch their app until there were 10m Windows Phones in circulation, but MS paid for the costs of development…and the app was developed. A source stated that “Microsoft ended up building or funding most of the top apps on Windows Phone 7 including Facebook, Twitter, IMDb, Amazon and Yelp, though Microsoft didn’t consider it buying off developers.” The way MS sees it, if they were missing these apps then they don’t have a complete phone to bring to the market so they didn’t view their actions as buying developers but rather as an act of completing their platform.
So let’s see if their strategy paid off. I do agree with them though – having top tier apps makes the phone complete and provides the appearance that there’s a real contender out there with top hardware and software to match. What do you think of the strategy?