Microsoft still funding big name developers for Windows Phone

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Windows Phone has had one heck of a time trying to pull customers away from Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS platforms. When consumers think about what devices they’re going to buy next, they generally consider whether their platform of choice feature certain applications, an area in which Microsoft has continued to struggle. Over a year after Windows Phone was released, Microsoft still only has about 80,000 Windows Phone applications, which pales in comparison to the 500,000+ applications available on Android and iOS.

In an effort to bring more high-quality applications to Windows Phone, Microsoft is continuing their campaign of throwing money at high-profile app developers to help these developers offset the costs of building the application for another platform. The New York Times reports that it can cost these major developers anywhere from $60,000 to $600,000 to create Windows Phone versions of their service, a cost many developers are unwilling to foot for a not-yet-proven platform.

Microsoft recently approached Foursquare with a proposition to underwrite the costs of building Foursquare for Windows Phone, an opportunity Foursquare quickly jumped on. Without this external funding source, Foursquare’s head of business development Holger Luedorf stated that Foursquare “likely would not” have produced a Windows Phone application. The Foursquare story is nearly identical to that of Cheezburger Networks, with Microsoft footing the development bill for the creators of the popular humor network.

Both Foursquare and Cheezburger stated that the Windows Phone platform was not relevant enough to develop for, noting that the costs of developing applications for Windows Phone would not be offset by app sales/ad revenues.

Many of the applications not yet available on the Windows Phone marketplace are must-haves for many users, and include the likes of Pandora, Instagram, Sonos, Angry Birds Space, games by Zynga, and others. Microsoft needs these applications to be available on Windows Phone if the platform is ever going to become a legitimate platform.

[via The New York Times]

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