Wanted: Developers for Microsoft Phone

The Microsoft/Nokia partnership is a windfall to developers who are already in the highest demand in nearly every sector of IT. The companies need developers for the desktop, web apps, iOS, Windows7 and Android products. Recently HP announced plans to build an apps store for enterprise customers and consumers that will service mobile devices and the desktop. After acquiring Palm, HP plans to ship WebOS on every PC shipped in 2012.

Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia is a bold move for the software giant, but is it bold enough to interest the thinning pool of developers to work on their platform? Some analysts said a merger, not a partnership, would have sent a stronger message to the industry (and developers) that Microsoft was dead serious about developing a lasting hardware/software answer to the droid and iPhone. Why? It wasn’t that long ago that Microsoft said they were absolutely committed to making the Zune a viable competitor to the iPod. Even as late as 2009, Steve Ballmer dismissed rumors that the project was in trouble, yet this month Microsoft pulled the plug on it.

So it’s onto Nokia. Since Microsoft already has a Windows7 app store and a growing number of developers for it, it would seem at this early stage that Nokia apps would be plugged right in. Not so. A recent job listing points to another new platform that may be integrated into the Windows7 apps store. It says, “The Commerce Services development team in Windows Phone Services will develop the service software to power the shared application marketplace for Nokia and Microsoft alliance. You will explore, prototype and design the integration between two marketplaces.”

So it’s a new set of APIs, a new platform, and new apps. Developers, who are trying to sort out the best platform to write for, will look to get yet another choice. With strong sales of Windows7 desktop and Office 2010, Microsoft could again afford to walk away. But can Nokia? The fact that they must succeed to gain traction in the smart phone market may make the Microsoft/Nokia marriage a smart bet for developers than if it was Microsoft going it alone.

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