According to a report filed by the New York Times and subsequently picked up by Bloomberg this morning, Microsoft is currently in the stages of paying app developers for Windows Phone versions of popular apps that are commonly found on iOS and Android such as Foursquare, Cheezburger Network and other popular applications. This follows statements made by Angry Birds developer Rovio made in the last week and a half confirming that the latest version of the massively successful game would not be made available for Windows Phone after repeated questions from the media when the game was initially launched late last month, only to make an about face and state that the developer was reconsidering the platform.
In order to drive app development on Windows Phone, Microsoft is offering development houses and third-party developers additional incentives to offer Windows Phone versions of popular applications, such as prominent advertising in the Windows Phone Marketplace, free hardware and additional underwriting support.
Microsoft is currently banking on the launch of the LTE enabled Nokia Lumia 900 for AT&T this weekend in order to lead consumers to its platform after a year of treading water in terms of sales and recognition despite spending millions of dollars in marketing and product placement to sell the advantages of Windows Phone compared to Android and iOS.
March was also a bad month for Microsoft in terms of perception for Windows Phone, as it was confirmed that one of its Windows Phone launch partners in Dell had discontinued all three versions of the Windows Phone powered Venue Pro in the US without confirming whether or not it would receive the long-awaited Windows Phone 7.5 Refresh update colloquially known as Windows Phone Tango.
As Windows Phone Tango is expected to be the last major update for the standalone Windows Phone platform before the launch of Windows Phone Apollo/Windows Phone 8, questions also arise concerning the developer appeal of its application store in its current state compared to Android and iOS, as the Windows Phone Marketplace currently only features 70,000 total apps compared to the nearly 400,000 apps found in Google’s rebranded Play storefront and over 600,000 in the Apple App Store. This is despite offering all of the required development tools at no cost and low entry costs to submit applications for approval.