For those of you who fully equate Microsoft’s entry in the smartphone OS wars with roadkill compared to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, the article published in today’s San Jose Mercury News on application development for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 OS may come as somewhat of a shock. Far from declaring defeat and slinking off, Microsoft is tapping a somewhat unusual source for entrepreneurial apps development: its own employees. More than 3000 Microsoft employees have signed up for the relaxation of Microsoft’s anti-moonlighting rule for employees. In exchange for 30% of the revenue from individual app sales, the company is supporting its employees’ off-time development work and is giving them pizza parties and recognition awards to spur the development of apps for a platform that’s clearly in third position at the moment. The article reports that about 840 apps have been published to date through this program.
Note: This revelation comes on the heels of last month’s joint Microsoft/Nokia announcement that Nokia was adopting Microsoft Windows Phone 7 for its new smartphones.
What do you think? Is this an ingenious way to prime the apps pump for a new smartphone OS?