Windows Phone 8: Microsoft paying developers thousands to create apps and might bundle Xbox One with smartphone

By James Geddes , Jun 17, 2013 10:39 AM EDT

A platform is only as good as the apps available and Microsoft wants to make the Windows Phone 8 platform a serious contender in the mobile OS race, even if it means paying developers thousands of dollars to make Windows Phone 8 apps.

A new report claims that Microsoft has begun paying developers up to $100,000 to get them to create their app for Windows Phone 8. The software giant has already been paying developers to port their apps to Windows Phone 8, and the Windows phone app store now has about 145,000 apps available. However, it's far lower than the Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store.

Bloomberg is now reporting that Microsoft is willing to pay developers big bucks to increase the number of apps it has on the Windows Phone 8 platform.

"My friends in Silicon Valley say Microsoft has been offering $100,000 or more to companies that will build Windows Phone apps. All told, Microsoft has 145,000 apps and games. That includes 48 of the top 50 most downloaded, though it still lacks a version of Pinterest and Instagram."

Microsoft has been struggling to find its place in the smartphone world ever since it re-entered the market with Windows Phone 7. The company previously had a smartphone operating system called Windows Mobile, but after Apple and Google entered the game with iOS and Android, Microsoft announced that it would abandon Windows Mobile and build a new smartphone operating system with Windows Phone 7 to better compete. Android and iOS quickly took the lead and are the top mobile operating systems by a wide margin. This leaves Microsoft and BlackBerry battling for the number three spot.

Things might be looking up for Microsoft, as sales of Windows Phone devices overtook BlackBerry for the first time in the first quarter of 2013. IDC reported that 7 million Windows Phone devices were shipped compared to 6.3 million BlackBerry devices. However, Windows Phone's lead may be shortlived as sales of the new BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 have reportedly been looking up. Still, Microsoft has a plan to counter that.

Besides paying developers thousands of dollars to build Windows Phone 8 apps, Microsoft is also using cross-promotion to beef up sales of the smartphones running its operating system. Windows Phone Chief Marketing Officer Thom Gruhler told Bloomberg that the company has already begun preparing tie-ins between Windows Phone apps and some games for its upcoming Xbox One gaming console. He even says that the company may bundle a game console - Xbox 360 or even Xbox One - with a smartphone and some services.

We'll have to wait and see how this plan works, but so far it seems that Microsoft is on a serious mission to bring more apps to Windows Phone 8 and make the presence of its mobile OS felt in the smartphone world.

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