In the last couple of days it has been widely reported that the Windows Phone Marketplace surpassed 50,000 apps in the 14 months since it opened up last year. That is a terrific achievement in such a short period of time and it includes some great apps, many of which are on a par with apps you can find in the iOS and Android app stores.
There are also huge holes in the collection of mobile apps like Todd Bishop from GeekWire wrote about yesterday in his Windows Phone- Why apps are still the big stumbling block.
So why are some developers not producing apps for the Windows Phone 7 platform? Since I am not a developer I can not speak to the differences between the tools and methods for building apps across the major platforms but I think I can talk to a possible misconception when it comes to apps and revenue.
Of course everyone knows that the iOS app store has over half a million apps in it. The Android store has over 200,000 and of course the Windows Phone Marketplace now has over 50,000. The number of handsets out in the world follow a similar pattern with more iOS devices followed by Android and then Windows Phone.
However, does more handsets necessarily mean that more money will be made from your app in comparison to a smaller app store and handset count in the world? I say no it doesn’t.
There has already been evidence shown that an app in both the Windows Phone Marketplace and the Android Marketplace earn significantly different amounts of revenue and it does not line up as you think it might. Turns out the smaller marketplace and handset footprint results in more revenue than the same app in a larger app store and more handsets.
There are two articles at WP Central that shows data shared by Nerualnet, an Orlando based developer I profiled on this site, to confirm that their Windows Phone app made much more money then its Android sibling in ad revenue.
- Android vs Windows Phone free apps – A case study
- Android vs Windows Phone free apps – A case study: Part II
Granted, there are likely many more apps in the iOS and Android stores which have made their developers rich folks and more power to them for their creativity and productivity.
However, what I do not get is the mindset I have seen around the Internet in stories, forums and other places which is the sheer disregard for the Windows Phone as a platform for apps. Too small, not worth it, too much effort, etc.
Developers do their thing to make money – it is their livelihood and chosen profession- and who can fault them for that. It takes time and effort to learn the programming languages, design the user interface and experience and then market the app – no doubt about it – and I am not here to knock them for making a living.
I am confused though how a revenue stream can just be disregarded. One of my favorite movies, Field of Dreams, has a great line that says “If you build it they will come.”
There is money to be made in the Windows Phone arena by developers who bring good apps to market that meet the needs of users. There is money to be made by developers that will port some of their iOS and Android apps over to Windows Phone to bring that functionality to the platform.
A lot of major companies have already branched into the Windows Phone Marketplace and have brought some good looking and well functioning apps into the marketplace for our handsets. Where is everyone else?
Earlier this year Microsoft released tools that make the porting of your iOS and Android apps to Windows Phone much easier. A $99 investment for a Windows Phone developer account and you can start to reach out to an entire new audience with earnings potential.
If you’re worried about the long term viability of the Windows Phone platform I have just one word for you – Xbox.
What exactly is holding you back from doing it?