In a move to populate its Windows Phone Marketplace with more apps, Microsoft and Nokia have decided to invest up to 18 million Euros in the next three years in a special mobile applications development program which they have started in collaboration with the Aalto University in Helsinki. The AppCampus program has been set up to encourage young talent as well as entrepreneurs to develop newer mobile applications for the Windows Phone ecosystem as well as for the Nokia platforms, including Symbian and Series 40. The program will hit it off from May and the University will not only be providing premises but will also offer coaching services and access to both academic as well business networks for budding app developers.
The Finnish vendor with the help of Microsoft has launched its Lumia range of Windows Phone smartphones in India and abroad but the general audience has not received it well primarily because of the dearth of apps. Windows Phone Marketplace has now managed to release more than 65,000 applications. Though this mobile platform is relatively newer as compared to other leading Operating Systems and its practically unfair to compare it with the market leaders. But heck, this number is still way too miniscule to satisfy mobile users who are spoiled by the likes of iOS and Android, which offer over half-a-million apps on their platforms.
Microsoft and Nokia had to face embarrassment last week when reports emerged about game publisher Rovio refusing to release a Windows Phone version of its much-awaited Angry Birds Space game. The Finnish company eventually stated it would work on a Windows Phone version without revealing any further details about launch timeline or pricing. Unlike Android and iOS, Windows Phone is yet to prove its worth to developers for whom developing apps for a particular platform is often dictated by the platforms market share. Analysts estimates peg Windows Phone at just three percent of global smartphone market share.
This is a typical Catch-22 situation for Microsoft, which needs more apps to tempt users and more users to get app developers to create interesting apps for the platform. Microsoft has usually tackled such situations by providing app developers incentives for making apps for its platform. Will it work? Well, that remains to be seen.