It's no secret that Microsoft's Marketplace is struggling in comparison to Apple's App Store or Google's Android Market. If you browse through these three online application stores, you'll see that Apple and Google have many more applications to offer compared to Microsoft. In fact, Apple has about 225,000 apps and Google has 65,000 in their respective app stores. To make matters worse for Microsoft, because the software giant is completely overhauling its mobile OS, programs developed for previous generations of the software won't work on Windows Phone 7. In other words, Microsoft is starting from scratch.
Microsoft is working hard on its upcoming mobile OS known as Windows Phone 7, and the company knows it needs to offer a respectable app store to go along with the highly touted OS. To achieve this, Microsoft is using a few different tactics to ensure its app store will be filled with apps that are enticing and appealing to users. To that end, Microsoft is reportedly offering free test hardware to certain developers to help them ensure their software will run on the new OS. In addition, Todd Brix, a senior director at Microsoft who works with app developers said the company is providing financial incentives ranging from free tools and test handsets to funds for software development and marketing. In some cases, Microsoft is even providing revenue guarantees and will make up the difference if apps don’t meet their sales goals in the Marketplace.
“We are investing a lot to attract developers big and small to Windows Phone 7 to let them understand what the opportunity is and provide as many resources as we can to help them be successful on our platform,” Brix said. “We’re open for business and we want to work with them.”
Really, there's nothing wrong with Microsoft using a number of tactics in an attempt to gain support for its ecosystem. Microsoft certainly has the money, and given the fact that the company desperately needs to catch up to its competition, it makes sense that Microsoft would want to use any and every avenue it can to ensure a successful launch.