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Nokia reveals its plans to attract Windows Phone developers

Exclusive Wants to capitalise on Microsoft’s reputation
Fri Nov 11 2011, 14:18

FINNISH PHONE MAKER Nokia has unveiled plans to reel in developers as part of its effort to increase Windows Phone market share in collaboration with its partner, Microsoft.

Nokia's head of apps and partnerships, Keith Varty told The INQUIRER in an interview, "Now we are working in conjunction with Microsoft, the game changes. The way we reach out to developers needs to change. Microsoft has a good reputation in the developer market and we want to add to that."

Varty said that Nokia will offer developers help with marketing, as well as getting into new markets where Nokia is strong, such as China. He said the company is working on a programme along with Microsoft to help developers translate and market their apps.

Nokia will also run UK workshops, Varty said, following a kick-off event a few weeks ago. The firm is looking to train Symbian and Nokia developers on the platform too. Varty added that Nokia is still "in the early stages" with Microsoft and "a lot lies with them, as they do the SDKs," while Nokia will be looking at adding its services such as mapping and Nokia Music to the Windows Phone 7.5 operating system (OS).

The Windows Phone 7.5 app store has around 40,000 apps, we reckon, so Nokia and Microsoft still have some work to do before the OS catches up with Android and IOS. However, Varty said, "I don't think we'd have any milestones but it's not a numbers game. If we look at all the categories we have the apps in each of those. We want a mix of the popular stuff but we also want the long tail."

Nokia and Microsoft are obviously hoping that Windows Phone will emulate the rise of Android that we've seen over the last year, so the pair are investing heavily. Varty said, "The investment we are making behind the platform, I'm sure we will tick that box {of growing share]. Our job is to potentially get the awareness out there."

He added, "It's our smartphone platform and very much our plan A and it very much hasn't had the focus from others [manufacturers]. It's kind of welcomed. If you talk to operators, developers and retail staff everyone really likes the platform."

Microsoft and Nokia also want to integrate Xbox further with the Windows Phone OS. Varty said, "We want to tightly integrate more. The ambition would be to be able to stop a game on the Xbox and pick it up over the device."

Nokia's first Windows Phone 7.5 device, The Lumia 800 will be released on 16 November and it wouldn't be far off to say that Nokia's future depends on its success. When asked about sales targets for the device, Varty wasn't inclined to say and used language we'd rather not repeat on this family web site. But it was said in fun, we think. µ


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