Microsoft to pay $100 to app developers per app, but is that really the best tactic?

Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 continue to add on more apps, though they are still a long ways away from competing with the shear number that you’ll find with Android or iOS. That said, not a bad start considering how young the platform is.

In their quest to continue expansion, Microsoft recently rolled out a new program that will pay $100 per app to would-be developers. A total of 10 apps can be submitted for Windows 8, and another 10 for Windows Phone 8. That means potentially an indie developer could be looking at $2000.

For those interested, the promotion runs all the way up to June 30th, or until Microsoft receives 10,000 qualified apps, whatever comes first.

The idea is awesome: win over small developers and make them loyal to your platform. The problem is that I’m not sure it is the right tactic at the moment.

Microsoft has already brought in quite a few indie gems. At this point more small developer games could just end up flooding the market with cheap apps that really can’t sell the platform. What Microsoft needs is a way to attract the big boys, and one-hundred smackers isn’t going to do it.

As my colleague Fahid Ali mentioned earlier this year, Microsoft needs to put together some kind of fund for attracting (aka bribing) big names. Developers like Gameloft haven’t contributed much to Windows 8, but if you handed them a million bucks, the might change their tune when it comes to both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. At the very least, it would cover a good portion of their development/porting costs.

Microsoft is slowly giving Microsoft faithful what they need to be happy as far as apps are concerned, but if they really want to steal away Android and iOS fans – they need more.

Outside of finding a way to attract in more of the A++ developers, Microsoft also needs to kick up their own game. With all the resources Microsoft has at its disposal in the gaming world, they need to spend some big bucks and great that ‘killer gaming exclusive app’ that will attract attention to the platform.

I have no doubts that the app situation will improve in time, and many of you reading might already feel the situation is good enough. Still, the sooner Microsoft can release enough triple-A titles, the sooner they can start reeling in converts from existing mobile devices instead of just largely targeting first-time tablet owners and Microsoft fans.

Microsoft also needs to remember that quality and quantity are two different things. You don’t need to beat Android or iOS’ number of apps, you just need to beat the quality that these stores offer. So far, Microsoft isn’t quite their yet, at least not in my opinion.

What do you think, does Microsoft need to do anything differently with its Windows Store and Windows Phone Store, or do you think they are already on the right track?

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