back to article Microsoft offers iPhone devs Windows Phone 7 cash

Microsoft is throwing cash at iPhone games developers in a bid to increase the number of applications for its yet-to-launch Windows Phone 7. A report from Pocket Gamer says that Microsoft is contacting successful iPhone developers and offering them "substantial" amounts of money – up front – to port their software to Windows …


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  1. Brett Weaver

    "gams developers?"

    I leave THAT to folk with more wit than me...

  2. Brett Weaver
    Thumb Up

    Fan Mail

    Bloody good article - Informative and told me something that I needed to know. Yay! I knew there was a reason (other than bofh) that I read The Register!

  3. Bronek Kozicki
    Thumb Up

    good strategy, actually

    .... and I wish them every success - it can't be good there there is no practical alternative to Apple app store. Everyone will benfit if Microsoft can woo app developers into new platform and is willing to fork for the cost of porting the code. For one, Apply may be forced to rethink how they apply ever-changing app store policies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There are

      Nokia has its OVI store and Android, um, not sure what they've got but there must be something out there for its applications. I downloaded the SDK yesterday and am currently immersing myself in the Android programming book. The device simulator looks cool. And all this is physically free and free from restrictions and was set up with Eclipse in not much time at all.

      I'm going to be interested in pushing the boundaries of this puppy over the next few months; and with tablets running Android as well, oohhh... forget the app store, writing my own is going to be sooo... sweet.

      Microsoft have the potential to become simply another apple. They also don't say the age of those devices that are out there. Personally, if they're more than a year old or maybe a year and a half, they shouldn't count. Windows 6 has been out there for more than three years now.

  4. Richard Cartledge


    Crikey, they sound very desperate.

    1. mikebartnz

      They are.

      That's because they are. They are too far behind the game.

  5. Shannon Jacobs

    Drive a stake through its heart already!

    This is beginning to remind me of SCO (aka SCOX for those of you who were following the amusing stock prices). Yeah, Microsoft has much deeper pockets, but their so-called 'mobile OS' has never been as lively as Frankenstein's monster. "Igor, the monster will live in the next version!"

    It doesn't really surprise me that Microsoft continues to pour good money after bad. That's just corporate inertia. The thing that amazes me is that Microsoft still hasn't figured out what's fundamentally wrong here. It's not the anti-freedom thing (projective advertising notwithstanding), but the OS mindset. If your underlying perspective of your OS is as a weapon to blow away the competition, then of course you can't make it small and nimble. Who wants a teeny tiny weapon? Weapons always get bigger and hairier, even if they sometimes plotz (like Vista). The result of Microsoft's OS philosophy HAS to be humongous and scary, so the little old lady who just wants to send email to her nieces on Sundays winds up with a trench mortar. Is anyone expecting such users to handle all the power of Windows? Nope, but the spammers sure do love those supercomputer zombots.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Theres an app for that?

    You need better gams? You need a gams developer for your iPhone.

    Damn that Jobs, he thinks of everything!

    Mines the one with the iPhone in the pocket!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Considerable journalistic negligence

    "...there's a huge question mark over the long-term wisdom of such a move."

    Well, Windows 7 mobile games will work on Linux, Mac and Windows, both inside and outside of the browser (as they run over Silverlight). So how could you forget to mention something like that?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      re: Considerable journalistin negligence

      You convientley forget the myriad of Linix & Mac (as well as a few Windows) users who will have absoultely nothing to do with any app that run in Silverlight.

      As for using Moonlight, well I did try. Honect guv but more than 90% of sites refused to recognise is as a viable alternative to Silverlight and promtly re-directed me to the Microsoft sire to download Silverlight for Windows.


      In some ways, I applaud Apple's decision to not support Flash on their devices. HTML5 is a far better alternative.

      So here we have Microsoft contining their Lockin mantra when the world around them is changing.

      Fail for obvious reasons

    2. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      Who cares?

      Unity blows Silverlight (and Flash) out of the water, and has been gaining a lot of traction in the game development community.

      It'll even run your game on the XBox360, Wii and, shortly, the PS3.

      If you're building multi-platform games, Unity is a no-brainer. Even EA and Cartoon Network are using it.

    3. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      And, of course...

      ... there's the small, but rather significant issue of UI design to consider. A Windows Phone 7 game isn't going to be much fun to play on a desktop PC with a much bigger display, but no multi-touch screen, compass or motion sensor installed.

      There's nothing inherently useful in Windows Phone 7 relying on Silverlight for multi-platform developers. You'd still have to radically change the game's UI to work with each supported platform.

    4. Jonathan 27

      Not quite

      It's not quite that easy. Some recoding is necessary, different interface assemblies and Silverlight for web doesn't have XNA so anything on that is a no-go. I need to get back to recoding my WinMobile 6 apps for Phone 7...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Microsoft paying developers to develop on their platform. Isn't that what they do all the time?

  9. The Other Steve

    Doesn't exist except in the sense that it does in fact exist

    April refresh of the CTP including phone simulator, SDK and Visual Studio IDE is located at

  10. lucmars

    You can't stop a cumulative aculturation process

    Simply because the majority of the devs had already an iPlode, so they were already stoned by Apple. That's the meaning of the halo effect.

    And it's really hard to break that as long as the iPlodes successes: you feel to surf upon a really good wave.

    Beside that, there is the quality of the devkit, but closed against closed, your devkits have to be wonderful otherwise, as a dev, you'll find more rooms and dreams on an open-platform.

    PS: one says "aculturation" in English ?

  11. ThomH

    Samsung are promising 30 million this year

    Of Bada phones that is, being one of the many manufacturers to more or less remove Windows from its roadmap. And they're optimistic of doing 40.

    Probably best to hedge any bets on mobile OS dominance...

  12. Anonymous Coward


    "gams" for "games", "tat" for "that", "money" used as singular, "market place" as two words, "Microsoft hoped that by publishing...would be enough to tap a vein" (what would be enough?). I'm sure these were down to haste and not ignorance, but it only takes a couple of seconds to run a spelling and grammar check if you're writing an article for public consumption.

  13. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    convert feature phone users?

    not likely. Verizon has a mandatory data plan for smart phone users, at&t has one -- and it's like $25-30. sprint has one, maybe t-mobile allows for "no data" still. I think Most ppl who are willing to shell out that much extra already have.

    Of course, i suppose they could churn out more phones like the Kin -- which has an early winmo7 prerelease but is not a smart phone, just has a canned like twitter & facebook app on it. But i doubt they'll sell 30 million of those either.

  14. mrweekender
    Thumb Down


    Are they really that desperate? Smells like horse shit to me especially when they've got so many devs to hand who are already developing for the xbox. Don't get me wrong I'd like to see nothing more than Windows burn in the flames of Hades, after the years of pain gave me before I switched to something decent.

  15. Mikel

    500 kin phones

    Google "500 kin phones". It's hilarious. The vanguard of Windows Phone 7, the Kin, is going down as one of the most epic failures in the history of technology. It's the CueCat all over again.

    It's been available for over a month and not only has it been marked down from $349.99 to $.01 on, you can still be the first to review it:

  16. Mark Jonson

    This article is incorrect.

    Microsoft later clarified that the slide from that presentation that said "30 million devices" was not 30 million devices shipped by the end of 2011, but it was that there would be 30 million Windows Phones in consumers' hands by the end of 2011. That means all the existing Windows Mobile devices as well.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    whoever said "Money can't buy love"...

    .... obviously doesn't know where to shop ;)

    Does this mean than interest in WP7 is so low MS is having to go out and buy apps so they can launch with a decent catalog (after all, for the last 5 years they've let their old phone platform wither and die so I'm not sure I'd want to take a bet on it)

    or are they just being proactive and ensuring that the Marketplace has a high bar of quality apps and good experiences are available for the early adopters from day 1?

    I'd like to think it's the latter

    that said, beyond a few apps I care much more about having a device that's usable out of the box - snappy UI, basic smartphone functionality (have you tried to use the "contacts" app on a current generation WM device with pager and carphone and radio telephone fields?!), a decent browser (Pocket IE sure isn't one of those), decent (real world all day) battery life and... that ability to actually make calls!

  18. N2

    Phone 7 Crash

    Thats how I read it.

  19. John Browne 1
    Jobs Horns

    And another risk factor...

    An iPhone app that gets ported to 7 might have a teeny chancette of getting kicked out of the App Store, no reason given. What, me paranoid? Come off it. Mine's the one with the medication in the pocket.

  20. Steve W 1
    Gates Halo

    This could work extremely well for cash-rich Micro$oft!!!

    For a measly two billion dollars, M$ could offer all iOS developers a two-for-one deal. They could offer to pay developers two dollars for every one dollar they earned through Apple's iOS App Store. Apple just announced that iOS developers have earned one billion dollars; clearly it's not too late yet.

    Another idea: Micro$oft could offer developers the big end of a 100%:0% split on app revenues. This beats the hell out of the 70%:30% split that Apple offers. IF one billion dollars is the 70% that Apple paid, then the extra 30% is less than a half billion ($429M).

    Here is the best idea of all. Microsoft could pay developers to port their apps, offer them 100% of app store revenues, and offer W7P phone owners a 100% discount on ported apps (total cost < $3.5G)

    That's how the big boys flex their power!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Dev tools

    A platform that uses existing, well established tools and languages seems like a good proposition for all those developers not already writing apps of sometimes questionable quality for Android who don't want to buy a Mac and learn Objective-C.

    I dare say many developers have been waiting for Microsoft to pull their finger out and deliver the right platform with the right tools.

    Microsoft have money to make this work - lots of money.

  22. Marcus Aurelius

    Apple things

    There are a number of things about Apples App Store which competition may be a good way to get suppressed.

    The rules about approval for your application seems to depend on Steve Jobs whims, and it seems your application can be withdrawn at random if those whims change. It seems you are fine to have an application containing boobies if you are a large company like Playboy, but not if you're a small time developer. You have to clear a revenue threshold for each country before you get any money from that country, instead of simply clearing a number of sales internationally, which seems to me to be a scam to get more money for Apple at the expense of lower unit selling applications. At least Microsoft is actually giving developers money upfront.

    Ensuring there is a level playing field for all should be mandatory, and whilst I'm not really a Microsoft fanboy, I don't have any objection to them providing competion

  23. captain veg Silver badge


    > Microsoft's campaign to woo developers from the platform

    > that's helping to kill Windows market share on mobile.

    Sure Windows Mobile is the platform that's helping to kill Windows market share on mobile. Why would Microsoft campaign against itself?


  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Why bother?

    Oh, and the iPhone 4 is coming out right now. So if you develop for Windows 7, you're a loser. That's the market speaking, not me.

  25. IT specialist

    The demise of Windows Phone 7

    Windows Phone 7 won't last.

    Microsoft's only stand-out feature was the ability to port XNA games from Xbox onto Windows Phone 7 handsets. But this has been a disaster, as app vendors have totally ignored it.

    Now Microsoft is in the humiliating situation of having to bribe iPhone developers with cash to port their iPhone games to Windows Phone 7.

    With no outstanding features, and tons of missing features, Windows Phone 7 will get slaughtered in the market, up against the very mature Android and iPhone.

    The recent Reg article about the broken compass API is yet another recent example of WP7 shortcomings...

    Windows Phone 7 doesn't stand a chance. DOA.

  26. Herby

    Give me the bux!

    I have this soon to be developed iPhone app that does more than all other apps combined. It slices, it dices, and it talks to you. I should have it released by the end of the year, and if you give me $$$ I will make sure it works on WP7 (or whatever that is). Just send me the $$$.

    If it is ready to go on your WP7 platform at the end of the year, we will both be surprised, as I might need more time to perfect the product. Be patient, it will be available "real soon now" and will perform "real good stuff". Just like Vista, the end all in operating systems.

    What do you say Microsoft?? Give me the bux!

  27. Ascylto
    Gates Horns

    New! Improved!

    So what's new ... even MORE 'innovation' from Microsoft!

    iPhone gams BUt will the phones work?

  28. Martin Lyne


    If Winmo 6.5 is anything to go by then.. well lets just say i reviewed all 6 of the games, and most were unfortunately horrid. (Meon being the exception)

    Lumped with a HD2 that has a godawful OS and no apps now. Fingers crossed for Android ROM.

  29. Happy Camper
    Thumb Down

    Nokia. You listening.

    OVI store needs that, Nokia need to do that. Only way they can get buy in for whatever they call their linux OS and the dying Symbian OS that won't go away, otherwise they will always be floundering in last place. With video clips of ironman 2 and the same ten games.

    Can't get people to buy in just by launching phone after crap phone. They need to bribe the developers, get the apps in which will then entice customers.

    MS are doing the right thing as they know they have a mountain to climb. Problem is they are STILL trying to copy Apple, the phone OS design, the ethics, now the apps??? We really think people will go to MS after Apple for the same experience? Ballmers an idiot with way too much money.

  30. Rogerborg

    An "advance on revenues"?

    What happens when WinCE 7 (or whatever they're branding it these days) remains a statistically insignificant global market, populated by a clusterfudge of inconsistently performing and even behaving devices owned by people who never, ever spent money on extra apps... you know, just like every previous version?

    When you never cover the "advance", do they come after you looking for their money back?

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