Exclusive: Microsoft Footing the Bill to Re-Write iOS Apps
Is Microsoft paying for apps to be converted from iOS to Windows Phone? According to a source, the answer is yes!
Microsoft has long been the power-house behind businesses both large and small. In addition to their office applications, they also have server operating systems, enterprise-class database solutions, and let’s not forget Exchange. Exchange powers a large percentage of corporate email, calendar and scheduling, and contact management. One would imagine that Microsoft is pretty happy getting a licensing fee from every company that wants to enable syncing with Exchange servers on their mobile platform: Apple and Google already pay licensing to hook into these services.
That may be a blessing, but it’s also becoming somewhat of a curse.
Many corporations have adopted Apple’s iPhone and iPad to enable employees to get more done while they’re away from their desks. Since these devices integrate Microsoft Exchange functionality into their operating system, it’s a very good fit for businesses — but it’s taking people who likely were Windows Mobile users and turning them into Apple users.
The trend isn’t just limited to devices, however. Corporations, once they’ve made the switch to iOS, eventually catch the “we need an app” bug. Since Windows Mobile is all but dead and these companies are already using iPhones, the conclusion usually follows that their app should be written for iOS.
That’s just what happened to our anonymous tipster.
“The business said ‘we need an app’. Of course, the only mobile platform we support that has any kind of future is Apple’s, so that meant bringing in some Macs, learning some new skills, and coding up an app for the iPhone.”
When she was asked about an Android app, the idea was brushed off.
“I showed them the Android activation statistics compared to iPhone, but the bias against ‘open-source’ shot down that idea.”
But what of a Windows Phone app? Microsoft’s latest offering in the smartphone arena is still very new, and carrier choices are limited. What’s worse, the iPhone trend may already be too far entrenched.
“Microsoft approached us and asked if they could help ‘translate’ our iOS app over to Windows Phone. At first I thought they were offering upgraded versions of Visual Studio or some training resources. They said they had something else in mind. Was it the tool they’re rumored to be working on which is supposed to convert it into a Visual Studio project? They implied that wasn’t it either.”
Later that week our tipster was asked to bundle up the source code for their iOS app and email it to her manager. What happened next was nothing short of amazing.
“I started getting emails asking me to install and test various ‘drops’ of the Windows Phone version of our app. Suddenly a Windows Phone showed up on my desk with a note ‘For Testing Purposes’. Two things stood out as odd: the app wasn’t a translation of the iOS app, from what I could tell it had been rewritten from the ground-up; and the emails weren’t coming from inside Microsoft, they were coming from another company that I’d never heard of.”
This informant believes that Microsoft has hired a third-party to re-write iOS apps for their partners in an effort to gain more momentum in the mobile space. It sounded a bit fantastical to us.
After reaching out to programmers in other companies it turns out they have been approached with similar offers, whether or not they worked for Microsoft partners, or not. Based on this revelation we have to conclude that Microsoft is trying to expand the number of apps available to their platform by paying to have apps “migrated”.
Source: (wishes to remain anonymous)