In a move perhaps highlighting two separate points I’ve made on numerous occassions, it is being reported that Microsoft is to invest $24 million in a project designed to encourage Windows Mobile Development in university.
The “creatively” named AppCampus is a project between the company from Redmond and Nokia where in May prospective developers/students can apply for a grant.
The participants will get financial backing without the need to give any equity interest to investors and also will receive coaching on technical issues and how to commercialize applications.
At first, only grants for Windows Phone apps will be accepted. Also, applicants who have developed mobile applications based on AppCampus grants have to commit to exclusivity for six months.
Besides Windows Phone, it will eventually also be possible to apply for grants for Symbian and Series 40 apps. The latter platform is, for example, used on Nokia’s Asha family.
This brings me to the introduction of this article very nicely, without even needing to find the latest up to date mobile figures its safe to say that Microsoft’s WP7 has been completely blown away by Android and Apple phones, it seems obvious to everyone (although I doubt Microsoft would ever admit it) that consumers as a rule don’t want the Microsoft offering. The apps which are hitting the news are ones available for iPhone and Android and I would suggest you would be very lucky if a stroll down your highstreet resulted in you meeting someone using a WP7 phone.
With that in mind though, it can be argued that Microsoft has remained within the tech world as it has due to the Universities being emerged in its products, if the students learn on Microsoft packages, they will migrate those skills and requirements when they hit employment. Perhaps the news of Microsoft targetting Universities is not only is a testament to the desperation of Microsoft trying to get people interested and developing for its rarely mentioned or seen platform – or it could be that Microsoft now understands that people are moving away from their products in droves albeit on a plethora of form factors?
As I said a few years back, Microsoft is watching its products erode, being eaten into by numerous competitors with products that consumers are rushing to buy, over the weekend I had occasion to browse a large electronic chain and speak with the manager. When I asked him if he thought a Windows tablet would sell, he replied that he doubted it, I don’t think its a secret now that the Microsoft name has little appeal to the mainstream consumer. This is the catch 22 situation I think Microsoft is in – Users won’t buy a phone without the apps they love, developers won’t generally make apps for a phone which users don’t buy and throw into the mix the public perception of Microsoft – I believe Microsoft has big problems..
Maybe the best app that could be created for WP7 would be an Android on iPhone emulator? ;) afterall that appears to be the phone people are buying in droves, not the WP7. If anyone gets a grant for that idea, I would like royalties!
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