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Tue September 3, 2013
Developers: Microsoft Should Sell Windows Phones to Businesses
Microsoft’s plan to buy Nokia’s cellphone business shows the company is serious about competing in the smartphone world. But developers of smartphone apps say Microsoft should focus on getting businesses to buy Windows Phones for their employees.
Joshua Lizon and Jon Delmendo write apps for smartphones. Their business, SeeClear Tech, is based in Poulsbo. Like many developers, they say the platform they write for depends on where the dollars are.
“We’ve never had a request for a Windows Phone development,” said Lizon.
“Not once,” added Delmendo.
Mostly they write for phones that run Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android software. They say the conundrum Microsoft faces is a chicken-or-egg problem. For Windows Phone to attract users, it needs apps. To get developers to write apps, there need to be enough users.
But Delmendo says he does think there’s an opportunity for Microsoft, especially as Blackberry fades. He says the natural market for Microsoft is businesses that want their employees to be able to access their work software programs on the go.
“They’re already using the Windows desktop. So if Nokia and Microsoft can work together to make virtually seamless interoperability between the desktop and the mobile devices, I mean, that smells like a win to me for the enterprise market,” Delmendo said.
As for the consumer market, Delmendo says he is not sure Microsoft can catch up.
Adam Sheppard worked at Microsoft for more than a decade. He now runs the Seattle-based web development company 8Ninths. Sheppard says after watching Microsoft try to make headway in mobile, he’s now more hopeful.
“It was frustrating to see us lose market share against iOS and Android over the years, and there’s been several run-ups to try and grow that. And this is a really positive move, we think.”
Sheppard says many of his clients don’t really see the need for applications on the Windows Phone platform. Windows Phone only has about a 3 percent market share in the U.S.
But Sheppard says Microsoft could spur application development with financial incentives to programmers. He says Microsoft could, for example, take a smaller cut of each application sale or even offer cloud-computing resources to developers.