Developer Enthusiasm for Windows Phone has waned since Nokia's Acquisition
A new report from the Strategy Analytics' Application Strategies group finds that developer enthusiasm for Windows Phone and willingness to support the platform above other mobile operating systems has declined steadily.
According to the new report Will Developers Declare Windows 10 DOA? developers continues to seek platforms beyond iOS and Android to support their ambitions to create sustainable businesses. In 2011 – 2013 Nokia led developer evangelism efforts with global events, aggressive outreach and frequent device seeding. In fact, Nokia's efforts were amongst the most cited reason for enthusiasm to support Windows Phone. However, since Microsoft agreed to acquire Nokia's devices & services business in 2013 the perceived importance of Windows Phone has declined each year. In 2015 respondents ranked the importance of Windows Phone well below alternatives such as HTML5 and at less than half the importance of iOS and Android.
Much of this declining interest can be attributed to the continued dominance and ecosystem extensions offered by iOS and Android. However, developers continued to hold out hope expecting to support Windows Phone in greater numbers 'next year'. Unfortunately for Microsoft, only half of the expected support actually materialized in 2014 and 2015. In short, developers are giving up on Windows Phone with less than 2% planning to primarily support the platform next year.
According to Joshua Martin, "Microsoft finds itself in a catch-22. It needs apps to be competitive and it needs users to get apps. The decision to offer OS upgrades for free will help achieve market share but I wonder if these users will be interested in downloading, buying and using apps – which is essential to garnering developer support. The realization of the long promised unified Windows across PC, tablet and phone is a compelling reason for developers to give Windows a second look but to truly win support Microsoft must offer engaged app users and a return to Nokia's robust developer outreach. Microsoft only has one more chance to get this right."