Show Them The Money? You Sure?
When Google first launched Android OS in 2008 as its premier mobile platform, questions were immedidately raised about its ability to keep pace with the growing number of users moving to iPhone and the commercial success of the App Store. It wouldn't be until 2010 that Android reached 100,000 apps and over 1 billion download from the then Android Market and even then it wasn't quite out of the woods since the App Store had 250,000 apps and over 6.5 billion downloads. Windows Phone now sits where Android OS was four years ago, and the task ahead is daunting as it only has around 100,000 available which is less than a sixth of the selection in the App Store and about a fourth of what can be downloaded via Google Play.
Microsoft's main problem here is that it was gone from the game for too long and developers essentially wrote off it's ability to make a platform worth creating applications for. As such Windows Phone isn't very high on most developers list of things to-do especially when theres a larger following and demonstrated payout from iOS and Android apps. To counteract this, Microsoft has started to actually pay developers directly to create apps for Windows Phone, a move that (on this scale) is largely without precedent. When developing apps for iOS or Android the developer has the option to charge a fee for each download or to sell advertising space on the app in lieu of a fee. Google and Apple then take a portion of profits (from non-free apps) as a fee for the apps' presence on their platform, usually in the realm of 30 percent. Microsoft is directly financing app development for Windows Phone, paying larger sums to firms like Foursquare for an app to the tune of $60,000.00 to $600,000.00
Ideally, the payout for apps will Windows Phone gain ground in development communities against iOS and Android such that Microsoft can gather a solid cadre of developers. If it works and Windows Phone makes real headway against the competition the market could certainly see a change in the landscape of how these tech giants battle for supremacy.