Microsoft is offering incentives to developers as a way of fostering app development to support the impending release of Windows Phone 7, according to a report from Bloomberg, which cites Todd Brix, a senior director at Microsoft who works with app developers.
Microsoft will offer developers financial incentives, ranging from free tools and test handsets to funds for software development and marketing, Brix told Bloomberg. Brix added that in some cases, Microsoft is providing revenue guarantees and will make up the difference if apps don’t sell as well as expected.
Microsoft was unavailable for further comment before press time.
The move comes as Microsoft on Monday released the beta version of its Software Development Kit (SDK) for Windows Phone 7.
Microsoft’s mobile division has struggled as of late, losing considerable market share to Google’s Android operating system. According to the latest numbers from ABI, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile accounted for just 6.9 percent of worldwide smartphone market share in the first quarter. That’s down from 10.8 percent for the same quarter last year.
Just last month, Microsoft announced that it would discontinue its line of KIN social-networking phones, saying it would transfer all available resources to the Windows Phone 7 team.
There’s good reason Microsoft wants to encourage app development for its new OS. An apps catalog is increasingly seen as one of the biggest facets of marketing a new smartphone. When Palm released its Palm Pre device last June, the company took considerable criticism for a lack of compatible apps for the phone.