Microsoft offers webOS developers free Windows Phones and dev tools

By Tom Warren, on 19th Aug 11 10:55 pm with 73 Comments

Microsoft is offering webOS developers free Windows Phone devices and dev tools.

Brandon Watson, Senior Director of Windows Phone 7 development at Microsoft made the offer in a twitter message on Friday. “Any Published WebOS Devs: We’ll give you what you need to be successful on #WindowsPhone, incl.free phones, dev tools, and training, etc.,” said Watson. The offer comes hot on the heels of HP announcing its plans to discontinue its TouchPad and pre phones and halt all further webOS device development.

Watson’s Windows Phone evangelism is well documented. He recently bet $1,000 on Windows Phone 7 with the author of popular comic strip Dilbert. Watson offered Scott Adams the chance to try Windows Phone 7. If Adams didn’t like it then Watson promised to donate $1,000 do a charity of Adams’ choice. Watson has also previously offered Windows Phone devices to notorious iPhone hacker Geohot and the original Windows Phone 7 jail breaking team ChevronWP7.

Watson is experimenting with a number of different ways to reach out to developers and place a human face on Microsoft’s Windows Phone efforts. He shared his personal cell phone number over Twitter in May and requested that Windows Phone developers call him to discuss any development questions. Microsoft is also trying to woo iPhone developers to Windows Phone 7. The company recently released a new Windows Phone API mapping tool to make it easier for iPhone developers to port their applications across. Along with the tools, Microsoft is also helping with marketing. The company is offering free merchandizing slots to Windows Phone developers. The slots will allow Windows Phone developers to get their application featured on Microsoft’s marketplace.

Microsoft is close to the 30,000 mark for its Windows Phone Marketplace. The company has attracted thousands of developers and will likely attract many more once Nokia starts to offer Windows Phone 7.5 devices later this year. For Watson it’s a simple approach. “Someone asked me why,” he said over Twitter. “Because every developer matters, that’s why.”

  • bt66

    Good move. I think they will consider the WP7 OS seriously.

  • Anonymous

    They need to make this guy in charge of marketing Windows Phone. If their marketing was as thoughtful as his evangalism, people would actually know how good Windows Phone is.

    • Tom

      He has the guerilla instincts that the Microsoft marketing drones lack.

      When you’re at 2% of the market, that’s exactly what you need.

    • Joe05

      Yes it is a good idea though I wonder why Apple does not have to give away phone to get developers to work on iOS

    • Test1ngi23

      Because there is no shortage of iOS devs right now. And because Steve Jobs is greedy.

    • Guest

      Because they have the share and demonstrated successful model for getting developers paid. MS doesn’t, yet.

    • Guest

      They need to make him head of MS marketing, period. He’s the one guy there who repeatedly shows an ability to break through all the anti-MS media spin and get MS noticed by the people who matter.

  • BucksterMcgee

    I truly hope to meet Brandon someday, if only to say, “Thank you.”

    • Joe05

      He tries but like with the bet he made with Molly Wood it is not always a big help when she say the OS is good but not good enough… I guess the charity of her choice will at least benefit.  8-(

  • http://twitter.com/jimmyfal Jimmy Fallon

    I hope they are seriously revamping the marketing department. Too stodgy. Need to be MUCH edgier.

  • Frylockns86

    At least with WP7, they’ll have some stability. I know WP7 isn’t exactly doing too great, but it’s there, and isnt going anywhere.

    BTW, I love my WP7. :)

    • oohahahahah

      Everytime I see WP7 I think of Word Perfect/WP

    • Guest

      Most of the target market doesn’t even remember who Wordperfect was.

    • Guest

      Most of the target market doesn’t even remember who Wordperfect was.

    • Guest

      Most of the target market doesn’t even remember who Wordperfect was.

    • AndyD

      I like mine too but I am getting tired of being made fun of for being the only one anyone knows who actually bought one.   Unless mango completely kicks my butt I may have to really look at a iPhone 5.  

    • Anonymous

      Just because you want to be a part of the iPhone group that your friends are? :s

    • Guest

      Well there is a coolness factor to the iPhone that WP7 just can not produce :(

    • Anonymous

      Dude you’re seriously mentally impaired if you decide your devices based on what your friends think.

  • Anonymous

    Can they buy HP PC business too? Just sayin’

    • Anonymous

      Completely Microsoft hardware and software! :D

    • Anonymous

      Completely Microsoft hardware and software! :D

  • Aaron

    How many webOS developers are there anyways?  This may not actually be too much of a financial burden for MS but does make good PR :)

    • Lightweight

      Heh, what would really suck for MS is if it turned out the WebOS devs turned their noses up at WP7. I would.

    • J A

      Then that will be their loss, their OS is dead and so are their mobile dev dreams. The same move HP pulled with ignoring MS and flopped will get WebOS devs nowhere if tey do the same.

    • Guest

      I doubt MS is interested in recruiting unemployed trolls. So you’re not being on board is no great loss. Plus, didn’t they shitcan your ass already?

    • Guest

      I doubt MS is interested in recruiting unemployed trolls. So you’re not being on board is no great loss. Plus, didn’t they shitcan your ass already?

  • Andy

    Hey Brandon… How about getting some users on board as well as developers ?

    soon there will be a 1:1 dev:user ratio !

    • Anonymous

      better than a 1:1 malware:user ratio like Android has… Boom

    • Test1ngi23

      Android is the Windows of the smartphone world.

    • Anonymous

      There are about 33 users for every app right now. It’s a reverse gold rush for developers.

    • AndyD

      Yes but this give Brandon and the gang something say when asked sales numbers for WP7… he and the rest can brag about the number of new developers the eco-system is attracting.  

  • Lightweight

    Looks like a culture clash to me. Going from a FOSS platform’s freedom to MS lockin is a big backward step.

    • Jasonhughey

      Hmmm…? Coming from a DEAD platform to a platform that is actually breathing seems like a step in the right direction.

    • Lightweight

      Hmm, from all available evidence, WP7 is the dog that won’t hunt. Let’s remember that Samsung’s “Bada” OS (another Linux variant) sells *twice* as many units as WP7. Haven’t heard of Bada? Well, that should be telling you something about the prospects of WP7.

      As for freedom relative to iOS, well, of course WP7 is freer than anything from Apple, but MS are no friend of freedom, and it’s certainly not free (in the sense of freedom) compared to Android. Why would someone pick WP7 over Android if they were jumping the WebOS ship? Android is the clear heir apparent to WebOS. At least they’re both Linux and both open source.

    • Kanixn

      Dramatically lower development costs (lower fragmentation, better tooling), dramatically less competition in the marketplace, and a huge potential for growth in emerging markets.

      I’ll agree with you that it doesn’t look promising for the U.S. or Western Europe for WP7, but when Nokia has a low-cost phone for other markets, the marketshare of WP7 should jump.

    • Lightweight

      There’s certainly less competition in the marketplace, but of course there’s a reason for that… no one’s buying anything for WP7 (or even downloading the free stuff, because almost no one uses WP7).

      I think the idea that Nokia’s going to save WP7 from complete obscurity is wishful thinking. Unfortunately for the Fins, Nokia have tied their north-sea life raft to a sinking ship. As I understand it, Nokia, worldwide (but particularly in growth markets like China), is losing market share as fast as Android is gaining it, which is impressive.

    • Constantine_D

      I totally agree with you.

      WP7 is a very bad purchase for anyone not living in the following countries:
          Australia
          Austria
          Belgium
          Brazil
          Canada
          Chile
          Columbia
          Czech Republic
          Denmark
          Finland
          France
          Germany
          Greece
          Hong Kong
          Hungary
          India
          Ireland
          Italy
          Japan
          Mexico
          Netherlands
          New Zealand
          Norway
          Poland
          Portugal
          Russia
          Singapore
          South Africa
          South Korea
          Spain
          Sweden
          Switzerland
          Taiwan
          UK
          USA

      The reason is that except the above countries, the marketplace is non-existent. Users cannot even download the FREE apps. That means that anyone buying a WP7 phone, will be stuck with only the default apps and no updates. This is a severe disadvantage which Microsoft has yet to address.

      As for basing the WP7 success on the shoulders of Nokia which has traditionally being very strong in the developing world, my personal opinion is that this is wishful thinking. Nokia sells huge quantities of phones but a very large percentage of them are cheap feature phones (like the Nokia 1110) sold in the developing world and not smartphones. Nokia used to sell a lot of Symbian smartphones in Europe and Asia where during the last year or so their sales are in freefall and they are losing rapidly market share to Apple and (especially) Android. You can find a (very) low end smartphone like the Huawei IDEOS in Kenya for $80. And the market/app store is available even in Kenya for free apps unlike WP7. Furthermore, WP7 was not designed to run on low end hardware (IIRC min. 1Gz CPU etc) and therefore it has already conceded the low end of the market to Android.

      So to recap:
        —  Low end of the market: WP7 does not address this market by design
        —  High end of the market: Stiff competition from iPhone and high-end Android devices
        — Marketplace availability (as of 2 months ago) in only 35 countries: WP7 cannot compete in the remaining countries that include some very big and wealthy countries (i.e. the middle eastern/gulf countries and some small European countries (where I reside)). A person buying an iPhone today and then spending $100 on iTunes/AppStore purchases over the next year, when he will eventually buy a new phone he will again buy an iPhone so that he does not lose his apps/content. The same applies to Android.

      I do hope that MS gets its act together and opens up the marketplace to all countries (at least for the free apps). If they do not fix this glaring omission very soon, they will find the international market closed to them.

    • Anonymous

      You named pretty much all the industial countries. Which country not on the list should MS support which will have major smartphone sales?

    • Constantine_D

      How about all the rich middle eastern/gulf countries? Turkey? The whole continent of S. America (with the exception of Brazil) is ignored.

      Some of these countries have a small but very rich upper class. A smartphone for them is a status symbol.

      My point is that MS ignored these markets. Apple (and Google) did not. iPhone is a status symbol in these countries and by the time that MS opens the marketplace to these countries it will be too late; all the people who can afford a smartphone they will have already bought one: an iPhone.

    • Anonymous

      Wait until Mango devices come out before you say that. 

    • FOtroll

      No stupid, it just tells use that Bada is sold on a lot of feature phones in 3rd world countries. This is about the fifth alias I’ve seen making this same stupid argument. You’ve been busy, eh?

    • Anonymous

      Come from a dead platform to one that is “just sleeping.”

    • Anonymous

      Your comment suggest you have no idea what is the freedom MS brings on table….compare to apple anyday and you start appreciating MS freedom….btw i do have ipad/iphone/macair along with lenovo w510 and iconia w500 tablet….

    • Anonymous

      That is ridiculous. Apple is a billion times more open than Microsoft. Microsoft is specifically the most closed company in the computing world. That is their M-O. They are the only one who doesn’t use Unix. They couldn’t even run standard Web apps until just recently and even there, somehow their browser makes them all look like sh t.

      Apple has many very successful open source projects … Microsoft has none. Apple WebKit is one of the most successful open source projects ever. It is on every non-Microsoft smartphone. It is in Google Chrome and Adobe AIR and Adobe Creative Suite and many set-top boxes. Every Mac since 2001 has shipped with hundreds of open source projects installed, like Apache, PHP, Python, Perl, Ruby, and so on. Microsoft Windows has none. Apple Bonjour is another huge open source project that is likely in your printer if you have one, and in many other devices. It is also called Zero Configuration Networking. They also produce the LLVM project and Clang and others. AND the whole core OS from every Apple device is open source (Darwin) so that you can audit it, many bugs have been fixed, etc. The code to the Microsoft NT core is not available.

      Further, HTML5 is the most open API ever created. Compare Apple’s support for it and Microsoft’s. Apple co-wrote the specification, created the reference browser core, ported that core to ARM to bring HTML5 to mobiles for the first time, has included an HTML5 browser on every device they sold since 2003 (before we even called it “HTML5″) making it easy to author content for them, and has provided the consumer reference platform for HTML5 in the iPad. Microsoft only just recently shipped a browser with HTML5 support, but only for Windows Vista and Windows 7, not on their phones, and not on the half of their user base that uses a previous version of Windows.

      The ISO MPEG-4 media standard is the most open consumer audio video format ever. It is based on Apple QuickTime, and that is in probably every PC, mobile, media player, Blu-Ray, and set top that you own. Basically, it is “open QuickTime.” That is why you can buy music on an iPad and play it later on an Android device. Compare to Microsoft who push non-standard Microsoft-only formats with implementations that can only come from them and that attempt to lock you into their own products.

      Apple is running on Unix … they are the largest Unix vendor by volume. Fixes for one Unix go to the others, code is open, systems are stable and secure, architecture is Internet-aware from the start. Microsoft builds its own proprietary core that is the only one that gets viruses and botnets and has on a few occasions threatened to take down the Internet.

      What is truly tiresome is all the excusifying that is done for Microsoft. Yes, I know you bought the wrong computer and invested a lot of time and money in keeping it barely running and you don’t want to know that was all unnecessary. Too bad. You got screwed by Microsoft, just like HP, who at least knows enough now to get out of doing Windows. OWN IT. It is your fault. Do not make up sh t like “Apple is closed” to try and make yourself feel better. There’s a Unix terminal in Mac OS … it can’t be “closed.” There is an HTML5 browser on all of Apple’s products … they can’t be “closed.”

    • http://twitter.com/OldCongress Gamer

      Oh gosh, says the isheep faggot

    • Anonymous

      That’s a lot of time spent on a post that is so full of FAIL.

    • Guest

      He was hoping to baffle us with bullshit.

    • http://twitter.com/OldCongress Gamer

      All FALSE and untrue, he’s just brainwashed by apple or a die hard fanboy sucking on Apple s toe

    • http://www.facebook.com/Michiel.Papp Michiel Papp

      In my image apple frequently does so. I agree that MS and LINUX had similair fanboys, just like google has. But the apple fanboys are more irritating then the rest because apple toys cost big bucks instantly granting most apple fanboys a verry big ego (I have apple and it’s better then anthing else nanananah).

      Do note that no all apple fan are like this. Some use apple for a good reason and some even but them second hand (they liek the design of the 3gs for instance and bought a second hand only to rip of the cover and fit in another cellphone :p)

      But mostly apple fans think they have jsut bought the pinnacle of technology, pure innovation and steve jobs is a tech god! Until i show them my custom built PC for half the prize and twice the specs :p (most then play the quality card of apple hardware :p)

      The matter of fact is: no companie is pure gold. Every os has it’s strenght and weakness and every fanboy is a real idiot and the only reason i reply to them is to prove them wrong (regardless of their fanboy target is :p)

    • http://www.facebook.com/Michiel.Papp Michiel Papp

      1) Apple based it’s os on unix, but it isn’t unix m8 It’s more closed and restricted then any other os.
      2)Google picked android and then basicly sells it. So they took something open and free and earn money from it. Yay for your freedom.
      3)Freedom is nothing, ethics is more:
       - apple: if there is something wrong: denie it, let user down => put more money in marketing to make the problem go away
      (anthena gate, malware problem)
      -google: collect data of users and sell to whoever want’s it behind the user’s back. Use the moniker of open source to gain trust but actually crap all over the licenses and don’t care.
      -microsoft: Beat the crap out of people during the browser wars,but try and be helpfull now.Released some verry bad products in the past but is trying to turn over a new leaf.

      Each company has it’s evil’s but from the three companies microsoft has the lesser one’s.

      +Ms is actually trying to make it’s programms beter instead of just releasing an update a week after someone else with stolen features from everyone (I’m looking at you apple).

    • Guest

      Mactard, take your iLove novel elsewhere,

    • Guest

      Mactard, take your iLove novel elsewhere,

    • Guest

      There goes the “John Dooey” alias. Time for the next one.

    • Guest

      iTurd, have you noticed how your employer’s OS get rooted first every year at Pwn2Own?

    • Guest

      MS is far more open that Apple and always has been. Only a Apple fanbois would arge differently. You can run literally anything on Windows platforms, including FOSS or OS X. Apple did Webkit because it needed browser capability and didn’t have much. So it took what it needed from Linux and then built on it. And Apple has been whining like a bitch about Google taking that and using it for Chrome, as well as trying to brand it to make that tougher. Some FOSS proponent.  

      Not only does MS use UNIX internally, they sell it externally through the deal they did with Novell. You’re simply full of shit. And that OS Apple runs? The development was headed by MS’s  executive in charge of research. Bonjour is not on my printer or on most people’s. Again, you’re full of shit. And while Darwin may be open source, iOS and OS X aren’t. So don’t even pretend differently scumbag.

      MS has been supporting and pushing the industry defacto video format for some time. Again, you’re full of shit. See a trend here?

      Apple may be the largest UNIX vendor by volume now since it’s the underlying OS for iOS. But UNIX fixes don’t automatically go into iOS or OS X, and of course most development is now on Linux, which isn’t the core of either. So again, you’re full of shit.

    • J A

      This is the most stupid statement on this list. Is there any such thing as “free” or “open” software? Just ask Google and any other corporation that hides behind these marketing gimics. They use those words to draw you in only to lock you in for as long as you use it and generate revenue. Or do you think those businesses are there to loose money? The difference between so-called “open” and proprietary/commercial software is that you don;t buy the former at initial acquisition but you have to buy the latter outright. Thereafter, it is lock-in in either case because you depend on the ecosystem and support of whichever platform you choose and. Do not deceive yourself. Where proprietary beats “open” is always quality of the software, support, ecosystem, etc. Wake and smell the coffee.

    • Guest

      WebOS isn’t FOSS. It uses the Linux kernel, but it’s closed source and proprietary.

    • Guest

      But then you’re a troll, so who cares?

  • TheCyberKnight

    Way to go Brandon Watson! You’re very proactive.

  • http://mediamonstrosity.com Media Monstrosity

    Why does everybody hate microsoft? Everything they’ve done lately seems to be good, and everybody is still obsessing over Windows Vista thoughts, which in my opinion wasn’t actually that bad!

    • Anonymous

      Only a few loud idiots on the internet make one think everyone hates Microsoft. Don’t let them get you down.

    • Guest

      It’s much more widespread than that. Look at MS coverage in the media generally – it’s usually negative.

    • http://mediamonstrosity.com Media Monstrosity

      Yeah, a lot of the stuff is really negative, when really the product isn’t that bad

    • Guest

      It’s much more widespread than that. Look at MS coverage in the media generally – it’s usually negative.

    • Guest

      It’s much more widespread than that. Look at MS coverage in the media generally – it’s usually negative.

    • Guest

      Everything? Like their tablet response?

    • Guest

      Everything? Like their tablet response?

    • Guest

      Everything? Like their tablet response?

  • Jabran

    Microsoft’s developer tools are light years ahead of Android and even Apple.
    Although both Java and VS .NET boast a huge developer base, eclipse is no match for Visual Studio. These tools matter more than most people think when it comes to developer productivity.

    Although this could change once Flex and AIR start supporting WP7.

    WP7 also offers a refreshing new UI that could propagate it through Android’s market.

  • Anonymous

    Why would they want to go from a dead platform to a dead platform?

    • Anonymous

      to prove that you are a fat troll.

    • Guest

      Why are you so worried about them going to that dead platform that you’re here trolling about it?