Microsoft (news, site) is going to need a vibrant store if its Mobile 7 series is to take off in a big way. How to get developers interest? Offer them some hard cash.

Do You Want Apps With That?

The modern mobile must have an app store, that seems to be the law now. So, Microsoft is ramping up interest in its upcoming Windows Phone 7 devices for developers by offering free development kits, SDKs and even some investment, to help create what -- it hopes -- will be a vibrant storefront with some unique products and plenty of innovation.

Certainly, Microsoft is trying to make things easier than it has in the past. This week it released a new beta of the Developer Training Kit to help smooth the path for newer developers with lab tests, guides and examples for using the XNA Framework.

How to Attract Developers and What to Develop?

With the latest Worldwide Partner Conference keynote for Windows Phones just gone live, there is little time left for those with an interest to jump on board. With Apple leading the way in app stores, Nokia and BlackBerry pushing rapidly and other providers trying to firm-up their own stores, Microsoft will have a lot of competition in attracting developers and not a lot of time left to do it before the December launch.


Windows Phone 7 phone app pages break outside the walls of your phone

What Microsoft needs to do is differentiate. There is no point in Steve Ballmer, or whoever opens the big press event, saying "we've got an app store too." At the very least he needs a list of 10 killer apps that are better than the competition. They could include:

  • Cutting-edge augmented reality app with global use and appeal
  • Mobile payment system live for the major territories
  • Game download rental system. Never mind paying for one or two games, offer a library of thousands with cheap, open access
  • Health monitoring
  • Mobile voucher or interests

Is It Already Too Late?

Whether these sparkling apps come from its own teams, or external developers is irrelevant. Windows Phone 7 will, by default, start out with a smaller store than its rivals. But, if it has enough apps of sufficient interest and quality to attract users, and less of the "me too" stuff, barring those social networking and shopping essentials, then it stands a better chance of success.

After the unmitigated disaster that was the Kin, Microsoft needs help and some good developers on-board can't hurt. But, with some vitriolic negative reaction coming from those who've seen Windows Phone 7 in action recently, even showering developers in cash might not be enough.