The arrival of Angry Birds Space last week was mired, for Windows Phone fans at least, by the news that Rovio wasn’t planning on bringing its latest game to the platform. Following some outcry, Rovio finally relented and announced it would start working on a port, but the message that had already been sent was hard to ignore: third-party app developers continue to see Windows Phone as a second-class platform. While recently discussing the coming release of the Lumia 900, Mary Jo Foley segued into Microsoft’s app strategy, and in doing so published a few internal Microsoft slides that show some of its plans for improving its place in the app world.
Microsoft’s strategy appears to be multi-tiered, at least according to this information supposedly from the company’s December 2011 marketing playbook. Part of it concentrates on courting developers of big-name apps that have yet to get into Windows Phone. When they won’t play ball, Microsoft looks ready to actively invest in their competition, so long as that brings a similar app to the the platform.
It’s no surprise to Windows Phone owners that their apps just cost more than the alternatives on iOS and Android. Microsoft is wisely looking to do something about this, especially when it comes to matching iOS prices. That said, there seems to be a bit of distraction from across-the-board price corrections, with Microsoft instead looking to give the appearance of more affordable apps by having new phones come with redeemable “app cards”.
Microsoft is smart about its decision to redirect user focus from the total number of apps available on its platform to concentrating more on the high quality of these titles. Not all its decisions hit the mark, though, and a call for more apps tied to specific phones is just the sort of bilge the app industry needs to be avoiding. Overall, Microsoft seems to have its head in the right place when it comes to third party Windows Phone apps, but it has a long road ahead of it before developers look to Windows Phone with the same enthusiasm they have for iOS or Android now.