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Is Windows 8 development worth the trouble?

Paul Rubens | April 15, 2014
Microsoft pays some companies to produce Windows 8 versions of their products. Without this type of financial assistance, or various other incentives, is Windows 8 and especially Windows Phone development worth the effort?

Paying software vendors to produce Windows Store apps isn't the only way Microsoft encourages Windows 8 development today. Other incentives include the following:

  • App Builder Rewards encourages Windows 8 and Windows Phone app development among U.S.-based developers. You earn points by attending events and building and publishing apps; points can be exchanged for Xbox games, a Windows Store developer account or a copy of Windows 8.
  • The Unity incentive program promotes the use of the Unity development platform for building Windows 8 and Windows Phone games and apps. It includes a free Dev Center account, a free Windows 8 Pro license and a free phone or tablet.
  • Microsoft's free development resources include tips on turning iPad apps into Windows Store apps.
  • Common registration for Windows 8 and Windows Phone is intended to make it as convenient as possible to build applications for the Windows Store and the Windows Phone store.
  • Finally, Microsoft is seeding the market with discounted Windows 8 PCs through a $100 discount to Windows XP users who buy a new Windows 8 PC.

There are also more general Microsoft incentives, O'Brien adds. "If you register as a developer, you get thousands of dollars' worth of software for development, and access to programs [such as] MSDN," the Microsoft Developer Network.

Where Will Future Windows 8 Developers Come From?

It's impossible to know whether these incentives will be enough to get developers to build Windows 8 apps in any significant way, but Miller says he feels that, in the long term, there's another conundrum that Microsoft will have to solve if Windows 8 is to become a big success: Where are new Windows 8 developers going to come from?

"Universities and courseware teaches for iOS or Android or Java," he points out. "It's definitely a problem for Microsoft because the (Windows 8) technology is new and evolving. It's hard for someone to train on a platform when it's not still or stable."


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