Microsoft to webOS Developers: Stop Dreaming, Start Building on WP7!

by Gaurav Kheterpal on August 22, 2011

HP’s loss is Microsoft’s gain. In the last year or so, Microsoft has opened its wallet in an effort to entice the mobile market’s best software application developers over to the WP7 team.  Microsoft’s goal, of course, is to make WP7 as enticing as possible to consumers as we enter into the season of reckless spending.

In May, the company announced an update of its Windows Phone software dubbed Mango that includes a whopping 500 features, including Internet Explorer 9, integrated Twitter and LinkedIn feeds, access to over 17,000 applications. To that effect, Microsoft has left no stone unturned in luring iPhone developers to WinPho7.  And now the Redmond giant is turning its attention to the webOS developer fraternity luring them with free phones, developer tools and training to make the switch to Windows Phone.

In the past, Microsoft has championed the art of poaching/ luring developers. However, its initial efforts to bring the mass developer fraternity to WP7 evoked mixed reactions. When it launched WP7 last year, the company offered Bejewelled creator PopCap a cool $100,000 to bring some of its other more popular titles over to the dark side, a deal that PopCap turned down. Similarly, it reportedly offered another deal to FourSquare, a company that previously had indicated it would only start developing for WP7 once the system hit 10 million users, and has now subsequently accepted.

Microsoft’s relentless efforts over the last year have yielded decent success and last month, the Windows Phone 7 marketplace passed the 25,000 apps mark. While those numbers are no match for the Apple App Store and Android Market, it’s no mean achievement considering the fact that most WP7 devices are still very much in their infancy.

Brandon Watson, the director of developer experience for Windows Phone, tweeted that Microsoft would give webOS developers ‘what you need to be successful’. Of course, most of the webOS developer fraternity is still in shock over the recent turn of events. While the TouchPad didn’t trounce the iPad, it was still the #2 selling tablet in the United States. Few days back, the plan was to market webOS to non-traditional markets, incorporating the innovative OS into advanced vehicle and home appliance technologies.

HP’s grand plan failed in spectacular fashion and in a move that comes as a surprise to everyone, HP announced earlier this week that it is discontinuing its use of webOS, the crown jewel of its Palm acquisition, in all of its current applications—including HP’s new TouchPad tablet and its smartphones—an announcement that effectively means the end of life for the once ambitious webOS. As expected, the developer fraternity is least amused and looking for alternative platforms.

Will a flood of webOS developers make a noticeable difference for Windows Phone? I don’t think so but it will certainly help increase the WP7 developer headcount and promote greater developer engagement.

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

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