Despite what people think Microsoft really has a wealth of resources developers can tap into if they want to produce apps for the platform. Here is a suggestion on how Microsoft can go a step further to help spur the continued adoption of major apps for the Windows Phone 8 platform. Its rather simple really and is two-fold. Software and Hardware is the way to do this.
Offer code modules for specific type of apps. More than just guidelines but actual sections of code that makes it incredibly inexpensive to develop for the platform. Done properly this would significantly cut down on the hours a company would have to devote to developing for the platform. Develop an online series tutorial using a fictitious banking institution as an example and show exactly how you would using best practices and the category specific coding modules. Show companies how specific APIs exist to accomplish tasks and how to easily implement the code. Hire whoever created the best banking apps on the platform as an outside consultant or bring them on board to handle the tasks. The move will pay for itself when users adopt the platform and begin making purchases in the Windows Phone Store and additional revenue from licensing fees from OEMs who want to jump on board. Also of note is continue to lower the cost for developers to join the developer program. Keep it under $100 and stop putting barriers and divisions in the program.
Pay Nokia & HTC for an amount of phones that you can distribute to every major financial institution, big brand corporation and star indie developer. 1,000 devices, give or take, should be able to accomplish this. That’s a drop in the bucket for Microsoft. Heck, they probably make that every day from their Android licensing revenue. I just read that USAA has decided to drop support for the Windows Phone platform. My sister, a recent Army retiree, uses USAA for all of her banking. It is an indispensable part of her mobile life. Without the USAA app on Windows Phone I’d never be able to get her to switch from Android.
I included star indie developers in the mix because indie developers who provide real and clear value to the platform are essential. Apple didn’t make any of the hot apps that draw users to the platform. Indie developers have made Apple hundreds of billions of dollars. The same can and should happen on Windows Phone. You do this by rewarding those who have demonstrated their value. Purchase the 1,000 devices and distribute them to the big brands and star indie developers ASAP. This would eliminate a major reason a developer or institution could raise as why the platform isn’t being supported.
The chicken and egg argument has always had a clear answer. The platform became the chicken the moment it was released for retail consumption. Now Microsoft must provide it what it needs to grow up strong and compete in this survival of the fittest world. Steve Ballmer wasn’t wrong to emphasize developers, developers, developers. He and all of Microsoft just has to be willing to go the extra mile it takes to take down a champion. Make no mistake Android and iOS are the co-champs in the smartphone market. Windows Phone can take heart that even the fearsome Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali were beaten at some point. It starts with work you do when nobody is looking.