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At the MIX10 conference last year the Windows Phone team showed, for the first time, the application platform and tools that developers would use to build applications and games for Windows Phone 7. We announced that the tools were free, would always be free, and set about the next phase of our developer campaign – educating and exciting the developer community about the limitless possibilities available on Windows Phone. Personally, this has been the hardest and most rewarding year of my professional career. As a team we felt like this was as good a time as any to take stock of what the year has produced.
When considering the various measures of progress over the last year, we tend to focus on the third party developers who have built so many amazing apps and games for the platform. Given the one year anniversary of the tool set, I also want to acknowledge the engineering work that began long before any of us knew what the Windows Phone developer platform would be. Evangelizing the platform and our developer ecosystem is incredibly easy when the team building it has done such an amazing job. It hasn’t been without its challenges, for sure, but the level of energy and commitment from the engineering team has only grown with each new developer. The engineering team has built an amazing product, and for that my team cannot thank them enough.
Our original commitment to developers a year ago focused on four guiding principles:
Instead of talking about those points one-by-one, we thought it would be more fun to take a look at some of the numbers that illustrate our commitment to those principles over the course of our first year:
So where do we go from here? To MIX11 of course. Last year was about building credibility and support for Windows Phone. We knew that we had built a different kind of phone and needed to present developers with a new opportunity. Now we are dedicated to evolving the platform to enable more developers to create amazing apps; more possibilities, more functionality, more customers and more markets. At Mobile World Congress we shared a glimpse of what’s to come at MIX11 and we are excited to show developers what’s coming to customers by the end of the year.
We look forward to outlining our purpose and principles for our forthcoming release when we get to MIX11 starting April 12th.
In the meantime, I hope you can see from the data behind “the number” that there’s something special happening with Windows Phone. Developers have been having a ton of fun building amazing apps and games. They’re attracted to the beautiful canvas that is the unique Windows Phone interface, and inspired by a free toolset and amazing resources from our evangelists in every country where we support application ingestion. We look forward to further increasing the engagement and transparency with our developer community, including more visibility into the update release schedules, roadmaps, access to early builds of the new OS and more time with our team. You deserve it. We are nothing without our developers.
Thank you. Thank all of you. And don’t forget: every developer matters. Every. Single. One.
Brandon -- Thanks to you and your team for all the hard work! Much appreciated!
My quick numbers:
1.5million downloads of Wp7 Toolkit. 36k regd devs, 11,500 aps. So... 2% of the developer base sustain and 32% of that 2% ship.. Thats kind of not good if i do my math right?
Before I share with you how I feel about the developer experience I want to make it very clear that I am extremely disappointed with the communication from the handset update team -- customer experience engineers or whatever you call them. Phew. Glad that's out of the way.
My experience with developing for Windows Phone 7 has been nothing short of phenomenal. The tools, the documentation, the sample code, the community ... are all extremely well done. Have their been hiccups? Of course, but that is true of every platform. I continue to be amazed at how easy it is to create compelling experiences for these devices. You guys were asked to do a job and you delivered. Keep up the great work.
Thanks to Brandon for the numbers, it puts everything in to perspective. Also, huge thanks to the hard work of the WP7 team!
@mossyblog You can do what math you want. The whole team is extremely proud of the accomplishments. We're most excited about the number of newly registered developers every week, and that 40% of the registered developers have published, meaning there are still many more who haven't yet. You can be pessimistic if you want. No worries. We're optimists over here and happy you cared enough to share your thoughts. Thanks Scott.
I havent had the possibility to use the device myself as the local stores here in Brisbane, Australia only have those plastic things.
I really like that MS took a different approach to the homescreen (tiles?) and UI. I hope the Windows Phone 7 phone does really well as competition drives the technology even further. I will however not pay money for a W7P phone as it feels the current handsets are up to one generation behind the leaders when it comes to functionality and speed. What I have heard from friends is that the phones are pretty unreliable at the moment, and some of them are MS employes who "can't" buy option.
I am currently development a mobile (web based) application and would love to reach the W7P users as well but by the looks of it the browser does not have access the camera / proper HTML5 before you have swapped out the rubbish IE7 engine. Any news on when W7P gets a proper web rendering engine?
@Brandonwatson If you have a warm glow about the phone and none of us can share that same warm glow because we are dealing with coal-face supply / demand issues then ..ok..i kinda can subscribe to this cheer leading exercise - except i'm staring at my windows phone waiting for that promised update which is behing held hostage my by carrier. I also am looking at my inbox full of new project requests some with devices that trail off to the words "android" or worse "Windows Phone Compact Framework" because i can't seem to figure out a way to push out an app onto a wp7 phone without declaring it a public consumer facing app.
But, bask in the externalized victory email we see before us now.
Thanks very much to the Windows Phone 7 team for all the hard work.
Working on Windows Phone 7 applications has been an excellent experience, and I've published 14 apps to the WP7 Marketplace.
Hate to say it (and I appreciate the effort), but there is only one number that actually matters: REVENUE. Ultimately, this is revenue from app sales. However, you could talk about units sold (to end users) or paid apps downloaded. Those all imply revenue.
Everything else is just a justification for waiting until there there is a revenue number worth talking about. If the revenue for developers does not come, it doesn't matter. The OS will die. If it does, then you have revenue and will experience related growth. The real question is how long do people continue to invest in the platform without revenue numbers.
Let us know when there are REVENUE numbers related to WP7 and end users to share.
You may want to re-word your post concerning the number 12. If read quickly it sounds like you only have 12 customers that love your apps. :)
In terms of the details that "44% of them include access to a Trial version" this is great and certainly the way forward but I have to complain about the fact you can't "update" those apps when you get notified of an update (I have 2 such notices on my phone right now).
This must be fixed becase sometimes you are happy to use the app in it's "trial" mode because the missing features aren't something that you want. There are also times when a feature is missing but the developers confirm it is coming so the application should update to the latest release so you can see if you would like to buy it now.
I accept it can be removed and the lates release installed but this doesn't cover my first example and in terms of the second then why should I have to lose all the settings so I can try the new version?
Perhaps, from a "new" ecosystem perspective, these numbers matter.
How about these:
1. How many markets does Zune Pass work in?
2. How many markets can someone buy movies?
3. How many developers can resign from their day job and focus completely on windows phone development to feed themselves and their families?
4. How many new and unique apps were developed first for windows phone and then for iOS or android? Xbox live games don't count since they cannot be on other platforms.
And of course, theine you have shied away from all this time: how many people use windows phone today, even including the Microsoft employee base?
Microsoft is not coy about IE9 download numbers, kinect sales numbers, xbox sales, windows 7 sales. Why is it a problem talking about windows phone sales especially when the "numbers that matter" as you said, are strong and improving by the day?
Oh, one more thing - you cannot be serious about the fact that something is coming to windows phone "at the end of the year". That's more than one year from the time you started selling windows phone. The phone has a lot of features missing and a lot of catching up to do to be on par with iOS and android. And they are not standing still either. If anything, we were expecting many frequent updates to our phones so that we quickly get in line with what else is available out there.
But it seems like windows phone is being handled much like other enterprise products are handled at Microsoft. Yearly or half-yearly cycles. Those just don't cut it in consumer-land. We need fast, frequent updates and we always are ready for changes (unlike enterprise).
Please tell me/us that there is something to look forward to between NoDo and the end of the year. Otherwise, I am pretty close to giving up on this exciting platform and go with the tried-and-tested iOS.
Imagine now if you opened up the marketplace to countries like Greece too, where telcos like Vodafone sell Windows Phone 7 but the phone is totally locked down and you can't install anything to it if you use a Greek Windows Live ID (now we have to use a fake UK/US windows live account which is not easy to set up [need to find a fake foreign postal code and address too] for the average user, plus you still can't buy marketplace stuff with fake address using a credit card, unless you don't care risking to have your credit card blocked cause of the fake address). Same goes for XBOX, opened up the XBox-Live marketplace for Greece this Xmas, but still have it crippled (many titles missing, no Indie Games etc.)
Brandon -- What you guys have done is amazing. At total reset of your mobile platform and you came out rocking with the first release. I can't wait to see what Mango and Apallo have to bring. Continue to be optimistic with your approach. I'm not bothered by your slow and caculated approach. "Slow is smooth and smooth is fast". Don't sweat the the complainers, they will always find something to complain about. Stay on course with your plan.
+1 on making apps submission in other countries. Israel is a small country, but with a large developer base - WP7 is the only large mobile platform Israelis cannot create apps for.
Let us join the party!
@ucstrojan98: "Xbox live games don't count since they cannot be on other platforms." This is incorrect. Xbox Live games can be multi-platform (Assassin's Creed, Pocket God, Guitar Hero, and coming Angry Birds) games from 3rd party developers. Not all games are from Microsoft Game Studio (MGS.)
I am in full agreement that MS needs to improve their release cycle and process. It is discouraging to know that the WP7 Emulator is released, yet our dev unlocked phones haven't received the update yet.
I'm a Windows Phone developer, and I can tell you that the numbers that matter to me aren't shown here. They're things like "number of WP7 devices sold" and "market share". Those numbers justify why I should spend time developing apps for WP7 instead of other platforms.
FWIW, a colleague of mine developed a WP7 app that is/was rated near the top in its category, and it'll take him a year to recoup the $100 fee he paid to become a developer. And he'll probably never recoup the cost of his phone.
@glong, I'm not sure why your friend would jump on WP7 hoping to make it big. Simple math would have told him that if he wants to make money writing mobile apps, he should target the iPhone and/or Android. Duh.
I'm keeping an eye on WP7 but it would be crazy to expect to make any kinf of money off it for the next three years at least.
Anyway, Brandon, keep up the good work and don't let the detractors get you down. Keep plugging away. You guys are the underdogs and nobody expects you to succeed, so it's a good challenge.
@glonq "FWIW, a colleague of mine developed a WP7 app that is/was rated near the top in its category, and it'll take him a year to recoup the $100 fee he paid to become a developer. And he'll probably never recoup the cost of his phone."
Seems maybe he doesn't have an app that people want to use if he hasn't made $100 off of it. Check out this article about a part-time dev using ads in his apps. He's made close to $30,000 in 4 months on ads alone. advertising.microsoft.com/foster-windows7apps
How pathetic. Don't ever get tired of self-delusion?
@ChrisLynch: I was referring to the "XBOX LIVE" part which cannot be implemented on other platforms. So, when I ask for unique apps which are only on WP7 or are released on WP7 before iOS, Full House Poker with XBOX LIVE achievements cannot be given as an example. This is because even if the game developers want to, XBOX LIVE functionality cannot be implemented on iOS, and hence that is by default unique to the platform.
However, as you said, the games themselves should count. So, does Microsoft have examples of games that were released only for WP7 or they were released for WP7 first and then for iOS/Android?
Why is that not a number that matters to Microsoft? Again, that is perhaps because there isn't enough population of windows phones to make a viral hit a la Instagram.
Keep up the good work guys. I love my WP7, I just wish carriers would stop being jerks and release updates sooner.
@brandonwatson you are arrogant and delusional like the rest of your product management team. You really agitated this platforms early adopters....trust me it took a lot but you guys managed to do it. And yes, you are all powerpoint BS masters and can skin the numbers however you need to in order to make it look good. Unfortunately though you've upset a small army.
Your team is doing an excellent job Brandon, just keep up the transparency in what's happening with things like updates so people know where to direct their grief. Otherwise, WP7 is the single best phone I've had in the last five years and I have nothing but high hopes for where it is going. After all, folks, this is a v1, how often does v1 have every feature from every competitor and address every situation possible?
To the naysayers, bring something constructive to the table or go home. Whining for the sake of having an internet presence does not mean you have anything interesting or important to say.
Here's another important number: 15. It's the number of apps that can create a push connection to your device. If you go over that number, you can never get another to work or remove old ones from the list. Uninstalling the software or de-selecting "use push notifications" in the apps does not work, and the only answer is a hard reset. That's not an acceptable solution when there's no means of backing up text messages, app data, and achievements.
Every app I install on my phone that offers notifications throws an error about not being able to contact the Microsoft Push Notification Service. There has to be a way to clear out unused entries, either on the phone on through the Phone management section of Windows Live. Your developers are starting to have to deal with questions about these issues and they're completely out of their hands. It gives a poor impression of the platform and poor user experience. Look at a couple of the pages your developers have had to put up
Good numbers all Brandon. It's a fun platform to develop for. It's difficult however for a business to make a commitment to building more comprehensive applications without any insight into the market size. I wish you could offer some numbers as to the number of active WP7 users and your market projections. Thanks.
@Elad have you seen Yalla Apps (http://www.yallaapps.com/)? They are enabling developers from many more countries (see the full list at http://www.yallaapps.com/faq)...Israel is one of them! Please hit me up on twitter (@benlower) or give me a call (+1(206) 659-NINJA) if you have any questions and i'll hook you up with the right folks.
@Brandon Watson and @MossyBlog - I think it's probably somewhere in between. As Brandon points out, I think a lot of developers are waiting to pull the trigger and have been turned off by slow sales, and the bungling of the update process and team transparency! If MS can get WP functionally close to parity with Windows Mobile 6.5 enterprise wise, plus add IE9, and ideally some reporting features. You could really see some developers and businesses start to turn the crank if this is also an OS that consumers like and want.
@Elad Check out are interview with Pablo and Alex from Yalla Apps on our Windows Phone Dev Podcast: wpdevpodcast.com/.../episode-008-r-i-p-zune That might help answer some of your questions. </shameless plug> / cc: @Ben Lower
One other point you forgot dear Watson. The number I find pretty worthy compared to other platforms - 0 - As in zero apps that include trojans, virus', malware, or that compromise data. That is also very impressive!
@Elad Check out our interview with Pablo and Alex from Yalla Apps on Windows Phone Dev Podcast: wpdevpodcast.com/.../episode-008-r-i-p-zune That might help answer some of your questions. </shameless plug> / cc: @Ben Lower
That's awesome progress, no matter what some of the comments say.
We are definitely gaining ground, and will soon have nodo out to everybody, making good of one of the major promises, if not a little late.
Here's hoping more progress is had, can't wait to see the SDK additions announcing at MIX.
Also, thanks for the thoughtful response to my email.
Enjoy Windows Phone 7!
Brandon -- I want to appreciate the work done by your team.
Go ahead and try to assign a dedicated separate team to fix various minor issues of Windows Phone like it's Market App,Camera settings e.t.c., because such minor issues sometimes hides the good work performed by your team.
Proper planning which you ppl may already doing can make this WP the best one very soon , beacuse of Microsoft Large share in OS, moreover through various blogs we ppl came to know that you ppl are working for Mango update.
So all the best , I love Windows phone , but please make sure quality always matters as compared to quantity.
Although i must say again Good Work . :)
There's one number missing: how many Windows Phone devices have been sold so far?
The whole argument about app quantity is hilarious, almost every category of app on WP7 is anemic and there are only a handful of unique apps that are genuinely compelling. You guys had truckloads of good will and fan support at launch and you squandered it with the busted update system, lack of transparency and not being direct and honest about sales figures. You hide behind articles like this instead of being honest with your customers. Glad i sold my Samsung Focus and went back to the iPhone, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Good luck but you blew 2011, maybe you'll get it right next year.
Brandon, you are definitely the spokesman of Windows Phone development. What an eloquent description of the platform we have and where we are going... thank you Mr. President
Tx for the amazing tools that have enabled me just a mediocre programmer to be able to create Apps with ease and ENJOY creating them !
I remember that it is mentioned in NoDo update notes that we can use non-US credit card to buy apps on marketplace, but it looks it is not working now! Any updates on this, please?
@USCTrojan98, and do you really think that a lot of people care about the "XBOX LIVE" part of it, as you refer to? A game is a game is a game. Do you think people care of Angry Birds is established as an "XBOX LIVE" game? No. They care whether or not the game itself has been developed for their platform. That's it. So, your argument on that point is pretty weak. There have been a number of games that started on WP7 and have found their way on other devices. There area number of other apps that have gone the same way. And the reverse is true. The smart thing for any developer to do is develop for more than one platform. When it comes to developing apps there are a couple of approaches. One is the "money first" concept. So, if making your money back is first & foremost, and your time allows you to only develop for one platform, then you go for the largest market share and HOPE that your app is one folks want to buy. The second approach involves the "develop it quickly" strategy. The idea there is find which platform lets you develop your product as quickly as possible and then get it on the market. Once you've established some exposure you have a bit more time to port it to other platforms. Based on developer comments, it would appear that WP7 is by far the easiest to develop for. So, it might make sense for some to develop and mature an app first on WP7 and then, once you've pretty much hit a mature point on the app, port it to iOS and Android, thus expanding your market. It doesn't have to be an "either/or" situation.
@GeraldM and @bobcb: There are plenty of legit criticisms. But it disengenuous to lump the update team in with the developer suppor team. They are essentially their entities, working under different goals and constraints. By most accounts the developer arena has enjoyed pretty good support and success and, of course, there are processes still going through refinement based on goals that are mutually beneficial to Microsoft and developers. The update team, however, has a different "contract" in play, one that it appears makes the carriers the primary customer and not the end-user. Different animal entirely. Personally, I don't care about the numbers much at all. Most don't. Well, except for how many are buying apps. BTW, not all developers are doing it to make money, so it's a mistake to work the math that way. I got as frustrated as everyone else about the update problems, and I was LONG a cheerleader for WP7 even in the face of all this. Even I reached a breaking point. But as more information finally came out, it was clear to see that the update issue was two-fold. Microsoft blew it by not telling everyone exactly what was going on and who was throwing the monkey wrench into the process. Carriers are almost exclusively to blame for the actual blocking or slow-rolled deployment. Regarding the Samsung fiasco, that was obviously an indicator that a little bit more testing should have been done between M$ and OEMs. But after that, it was all carriers---AT&T worst of all. If you want to get all indignant about it then go after your carrier. I've attacked AT&T over this plenty...and, naturally, they just spit out their talking points.
"It’s a question that really begs some scrutinizing."
To beg the question is a logical fallacy, not a figure of speech. "Begs some (x)" makes even less sense.
The correct use of begging the question is like "Windows apps are high quality because Microsoft says so"
A huge thanks for this exciting update!
Boo to all you whiners, because I *know* most of you aren't developers or are just sheep following everyone else and what Engadget and AOL tell you to do.
I personally love the fact that MS has done things on mobile devices a full decade before anyone took a stab at it. MS isn't late at all. Try taking a look at the history of Windows CE (which is what really powers WP7) and all the mobile and non mobile, embedded SoC and non-SoC devices out there currently in the wild that are running Windows CE. That number is bewildering and probably non-calculable. If you want a number try and give that one a go! The rest of the stats are meaningless to me. Other than that one zero number of how many WP7 apps are malware. ;-)
I Kindly request you to take a look at these complaints and take action
It will be a great support Microsoft would be giving to their early adopters
i am a developer from Romania and I'm looking forward to developing for the phone.
When will MS extend the App hub for other countries as well?
@Elz, actually there are many developers in Romania that would like to know that. ;) Or anything other than "working on it".
@xepwn - yup, in the wake of all this anti-trust going on with regards to Apple and Google, and now worse the investigation into apps that are illegally passing along users data without their knowledge, Windows Phone or Microsoft has not come up once in anything I've read. And no apps are taking down the phone, draining battery, stealing data, etc, etc... It seems Microsoft has wrapped their arms around doing things legally/fairly, and with high security in mind....it's now down to execution and making this platform something people really need and want.
A Quarter Later - The Windows Phone 7 Numbers That REALLY Matter:
comScore November 2010 Marketshare, Microsoft: 9.0%
comScore February 2011 Marketshare, Microsoft: 7.7%
Net change for quarter: -1.3%
There's some numbers that matter. In the quarter since the release of WP7, Microsoft has LOST 1.3% marketshare. This makes me sad and I find it cause for concern because what this means is simple: People who had Windows Mobile 6 or Windows Mobile 6.5 phones have outright given up on Microsoft and moved to smartphone offerings by either Apple or any Android flavor (not RIM, however, as they lost 4.6% marketshare over the same quarter). In fact, if you combine the losses of RIM, Microsoft and Palm, they equal the same amount of GAINS Android has seen in the quarter (7%).
What does this have to do with development, I hear people asking. Well, these numbers are also disconcerting because losing 1.3% marketshare this soon makes it increasingly more difficult for companies to justify allocating development resources to a platform that is sliding out of the gate. We can talk about all the existing apps and the numbers so far, but unless the marketshare numbers turn around, there's little to no financial incentive for developers to build for the platform as opposed to Android or iOS. I'm sure we'll still see apps get ported to WP7 after devs release Android and iOS versions, but they're going to be exactly that: Shoddy ports.
Some other numbers that matter
The number of apps can purchase for my phone: 0
The number of the three local-info apps I have been working on there is a point in selling at the MP: 0
The level of truth in the release-notes for NoDo talking about international credit cards: 0
The confidence level I had that WP7 was going to be a success just after new year: 90
The current confidence level: 0 (approx)
The quality level of the App Hub: 0 (approx) - have you tried to answer a post in the discussion groups? Sigh.
The number of quality developers currently working on the App Hub: 0 (why not just use Orchard as a base?)
The level of support the WP7 platform has among Microsoft top management: 0
The WP7 platform is great. The developer tools are great. The product marketing team is incompetent and need to be fired. All of it. Early adopters like me are rightfully disappointed (p-word replaced) in Microsoft and the current bungling of this platform. Sadly, for someone currently living in Europe, we are kinda used to it by now. Used to Microsoft pushing spiked rods up our rear ends that is. Doing business with Microsof is a constant reminder that Microsoft thinks all Europeans are gullible idiots who need to be robbed as often as possible.
Numbers that matter:
Blend upgrade in the US: $349, Blend upgrade in Europe: $629. Sure, this is for work, but why does Microsoft treat me like I am a retarded idiot with more money than sense just because I happen to live outside of the US?
Brandon : I have a problem.
I'm messaging from Mongolia. I like Windows Phone 7. Because i'm using and testing. I'm developer for .NET. I want to develop Windows Phone 7 Application. But problem is our country (Mongolia) don't have country list in registration window of App hub. Our company and other many people want to develop global and local software on windows phone 7. But couldn't registered.
Please help me how can register to App Hub.
We'd like to have a common and secure mobile platform to provide mobile devices to the 65,000+ employees at our company.
But without a way to deploy our in house developed apps without using a cloud connected to the public Internet it will never happen on Windows Phone.