Don't think for a second Microsoft
is willing to let its Windows Phone 7
platform suffer the same fate as the short lived Kin Phone venture. The challenge for Microsoft, however, is that it's going up against established platforms, namely Google Android
(iOS), both of which now have a huge selection of apps to choose from. So how did Microsoft manage to line up a bunch software in time for WP7's launch? By opening up its wallet, of course.
According to reports, Foursquare had no intention of releasing a WP7 app in time for launch, instead wanting to wait until Microsoft sold no less than 10 million units. But after Microsoft dangled more than a few dollars in front of Foursquare, the company had a change of heart.
Exactly how much Microsoft was willing to spend to entice Foursquare and other developers isn't known, but it may have been as much as six figures. It's reported that Microsoft offered PopCap around $100,000 to develop a game for WP7, and while the company declined, it did create a launch title called Bejeweled Live. It couldn't have been easy to turn down that kind of cash, but as PopCap's director of mobile business development Andrew Stein explains, getting tied down to an agreement could be costly in the long run.
"Whenever you talk subsidy or royalty guarantees, there are strings attached," Stein said. "We weren't sure we could meet the commitment but we already identified we wanted to be on there. If the platform succeeds, the dollars we were kicking around the table will be peanuts."
Microsoft knows well the value of a robust marketplace, promising potential buyers "over one thousand" apps at launch. That number is now closer to 2,000 and growing, which is a drop in the bucket compared to the Android Market and Apple's App Store, but nonetheless impressive for such a short time. And because Windows Phone 7 devices share the same general hardware blueprint, there really isn't any concern that an app will run like butter one one WP7 phone and slow as tar on another.