Microsoft’s increased backing for Windows Phone is making the platform an increasingly attractive proposition for app developers.
The Microsoft developed OS has been gradually growing its market share over the last 12 months, and now accounts for 11.4% of the UK smartphone market while cementing its place as third OS of choice worldwide. The increasing popularity of the platform has made developers take notice. Ben Wood of CCS Insight told Mobile: ‘For developers, Windows Phone is well and truly on the radar, and it’s down to a combination of things. Firstly, BlackBerry’s difficulties have aided its development somewhat as it used to be challenging for developers to choose between the both when prioritising a third OS after Android and iOS. BlackBerry’s issues have made that decision for them.
‘Secondly, Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia shows developers a commitment to the platform. It means development dollars, it means Microsoft is talking about app incentives and liaising with developers. Also, its growth in Europe has made the Lumia devices more credible, while Microsoft and Nokia are spending fortunes on marketing.’
Wood added that it would be ‘premature’ to talk about Windows Phone becoming the dominant platform for developers, but a recent survey compiled by Strategy Analytics shows the platform is becoming more of a priority. In recent weeks Vine and Instagram [see box] have been added to the Windows Phone app store, while 54% of those surveyed said they were supporting the platform because they ‘believe in the future of Windows Phone’. Although only 16% of developers catered for Windows Phone last year, that figure is expected to double to 32% in 2014.
Strategy Analytics executive director of apps and media David MacQueen said: ‘Windows Phone seems to be achieving some real traction in the market and that’s reflected in how the developer community views the platform. It’s definitely doing enough to at least make developers experiment on the platform, and in the long term it needs to deliver on its promise and build a decent installed base, or developers will likely lose interest.’
The latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech revealed that Windows Phone was the only operating system to grow share in the last quarter, but IDC research director Francisco Jeronimo warned Microsoft against missing its mobile opportunity. He said: ‘Windows Phone presents a good opportunity, but developers need to spread investment through different platforms. It’s not just about making apps for Android or iOS. Firefox and Tizen are interesting platforms and Microsoft needs to take this opportunity because if its mobile side fails, its whole operation will fail.’
Author: Matthew Campelli