Microsoft lures iPhone Developers to WinPho7

by Gaurav Kheterpal on May 3, 2011

If you can’t beat them, lure them to join you. IDC says Windows Phone 7 will beat the iPhone by 2015. While that seems a distant reality, I have no doubt Microsoft currently has more important matters to attend. For a start, it needs to get its Windows Phone 7 update to work. Secondly, it needs to come up with a plan to revive Windows in wake of explosive iPad sales.

Last but not the least, it needs to revive developer confidence in WinPho7. A recent Appcelerator survey reveals 46% of developers prefer working on Android and iOS platforms. In fact, developer momentum is shifting back toward Apple as fragmentation and tepid interest in current Android tablets chip away at Google’s recent momentum gains.

So, how does Microsoft lure iOS developers to jump ship and start developing WinPho7 apps? The Windows giant yesterday released an API mapping tool that it has promised will help developers to code their exiting iPhone applications to work on Windows Phone 7. Microsoft claims it will shorten the WinPho7 learning curve and help developers quickly port iOS apps to WP7.

Microsoft says it will release a similar tool for Android developers as well. The mapping tool helps developer search a given iOS API call and find the equivalent WP7 along with C# sample codes and API documentations for both platforms. The tool currently covers mappings for User Interface, and Data Management APIs.

This isn’t the first time Microsoft has tried its hand at luring the iOS developer community. In 2009, Microsoft adopted a similar approach and published information on how to convert an iPhone app to Windows Phone 6.5. The mobile app development landscape has changed significantly in the last couple of years and Microsoft would be hoping for a favorable response from the iOS developer community this time around.

Interestingly, many developers say they don’t feel the need to develop on WP7 as they’ve already got their hands plenty full building for iOS or Android. They feel it is not possible for Microsoft, RIM, HP and Nokia to reverse momentum relative to Apple and Google and I strongly agree with that. Perhaps, Microsoft needs to sweeten the deal by eliminating the annual developer fee or adopt a more developer-friendly rev share approach. I don’t see such mappings cause a massive wave of iOS developers to release Windows Phone apps, but it’s a good initiate none the less.

Microsoft says the future versions of mapping tool will expand the scope and the company will do its best to provide the appropriate guidance to developers. It better do. After all, time is ticking and 2015 is not too far.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby: RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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