Windows Phone 8 home screen

Android and iOS may have been all the rage in 2012 – and especially on Christmas Day when App Store downloads surged 87 percent versus the December 2012 average – but what about Microsoft?

While sales of Windows 8 tablets and Windows Phones have yet to reach a critical mass, the Redmond firm understands it needs more quality apps to lure users.

Quite an interesting get-together recently happened at Microsoft’s headquarters as the firm met with a cherry-picked group of iOS developers in an attempt to encourage them to produce versions of their apps for the Windows Phone platform. Is Microsoft throwing money at iOS devs’ feet? This reminds us of how the firm spent millions in the gaming space to steal PlayStation exclusives, much to its advantage…

During the two-day meeting at Mountain View, California, Microsoft execs apparently outlined how designers could create apps that meshed with its software for Windows PCs and tablets. As part of the conference, iOS developers learned that buttons are verboten with Windows 8 and Apple’s life-like app touches just won’t work.

Technology Review has the story:

In years past, Microsoft had the majority of developer attention on its Windows software – programmers would write  software first. Apple’s Macs were often an afterthought. Now the Redmond, Washington-based software giant finds itself in the unfamiliar position of needing to get developers’ attention.

Some of the developers in attendance applauded Microsoft’s professionalism, the “visual cleanness” and the bold look of the new Windows software. However, others questioned Microsoft’s decision to use one operating software for PCs, phones and tablets.

Unlike Microsoft, Apple employs iOS for the iPhone, iPad and iPod and Mac OS X for its line of desktop and laptop computers.

The need for developers to write apps for phones, tablets and computers “is a bit of a nightmare”, Yankee Group’s Carl Howe told the publication. Some developers invited to the app pow-wow saw the abundance of iOS apps (more than 700,000 versus 120,000 for Microsoft) a reason to consider branch out beyond Apple.

“It’s a lot easier to get lost” in the App Store because of some many apps available, iOS developer Santosh Krishna said.

Still, the latest version of Windows Phone is a nice platform to write apps for and it certainly is clean and novel.

Have you used a Windows Phone device before?

If so, what did you think of it?