Microsoft’s got a bit of a problem. Developers have a finite amount of time and resources to make apps, so before they start coding they take a look at the current mobile landscape to gauge which platforms are hot. Newsflash: Windows Phone is a dud. Rovio, the guys behind Angry Birds, demonstrated this harsh reality perfectly last week when they launched the latest version of their videogame on Android and iOS, but essentially said “no comment” as to when a Windows Phone version would be released. This obviously has Nokia concerned since they’ve bet the farm on Windows Phone. What’s a troubled handset vendor to do? Call up Daddy, which in this case is Microsoft, and agree to invest 18 million Euros over the course of the next 3 years into Aalto University, located in Helsinki, so Finland’s youth can get all the education they need to make Windows Phone apps.
This raises a serious question: How much involvement should companies have with universities? It’s one thing for a university to do research into the hard sciences, things like designing tomorrow’s antennas and transistor technology, but application development? From a computer science perspective, awesome, students should learn how to code, but why would you want to teach them to code for a platform that doesn’t have a secure future?
Had this been a Google or Apple announcement, we wouldn’t have said anything, since it’s commendable that companies would want to teach students to make applications that could one day kick start their career. But teaching kids how to make Windows Phone apps is like sending your child to school to figure out how to manage a paper and ink supply chain at a newspaper company.
Anyway, this writer isn’t all too concerned. Finland’s youth doesn’t give Nokia or Microsoft the respect that the previous generation once did, and a few million Euros isn’t going to change that.
[Image Credit: James Reeves, who does an excellent job describing Vappu, a Finnish holiday]