By: Hillel Fuld
It has been a crazy two weeks. We had Google buy Motorola, yes Motorola. We had Skype buy GroupMe, and we had a whole HP fiasco. Putting aside HP ditching the PC business, WebOS is dead, at least in its current form. That means a few things. It means a whole lot of HP Touchpads being sold. It also means a whole lot of WebOS developers (ok, maybe not THAT many) looking for their new home.
Well, Microsoft is seizing the opportunity to lure in those developers and they are doing it pretty aggressively. Brandon Watson, the man responsible for apps and developers on the Windows Phone platform tweeted a few days ago: “To Any Published WebOS Devs: We’ll give you what you need to be successful on #WindowsPhone, incl.free phones, dev tools, and training, etc.” Too soon?
Whatever the case may be, this was a smart move on the part of Microsoft. As Scoble (and many other people) has said on many occasions, the success of a mobile ecosystem in today’s market very much depends on the app development tools available to developers, as well as the bottom line number of applications for that specific platform. Apple has taught us that.
Microsoft has publicized that any WebOS developer looking to get on board the Windows Phone train should send an email to ThePhone@Microsoft.com. Well, Watson says the response has been somewhat overwhelming and it turns out this unexpected move by HP might be a huge win for Microsoft. Watson reports that on the first day alone, over 500 developers reached out. Microsoft is responding with the following letter:
“First things first. Thank you so much for reaching out to the Windows Phone team to signal your interest in bringing your talents to our platform. To be honest, we didn’t expect this level of response, so we were caught a bit flatfooted. It took a few days (on the weekend) to pull all the mails together into one place to allow me to respond in a smart way and not retype every mail by hand. Consider this a first step in building a relationship with the Windows Phone team. We are psyched to have you aboard and to see what your imagination can do on the Windows Phone canvas.”
This is not the first time Microsoft has made it very clear that they understand the importance of their developer community. If you ask me, this emphasis is what will keep Microsoft around in the mobile game for the coming years. Apple is making its developers nuts with strict rejection policies, Google is doing the same with fragmentation and lack of monetization. Seems like Microsoft is playing its cards just right and a few thousand WebOS developers moving over to Windows Phone might be exactly what the doctor ordered.
Meanwhile, check out this somewhat frightening video of just HOW important Microsoft thinks its developers are.