The App Stores War is getting a lot more interesting: Palm, it seems, is paying serious cash to app developers, while Microsoft has resorted to placing ads for developers in iPhone Apps. All to beat Apple.
They’re appearing in the banners across the top of many ad-supported free apps, simply stating “Windows Marketplace for Mobile” with a tempting button to click to “submit app.” The irony is fabulous isn’t it? But there’s more, of course: within the Marketplace’s SDK there’s a line that seems to prohibit this kind of deal; “applications that link to, incent users to download, or otherwise promote alternate marketplaces” are prohibited. Wouldn’t this include ad placements that promote the iTunes App Store, if strictly interpreted?
Microsoft’s also been approaching iPhone app developers directly, asking them to port their wares to WinMo. And there’s also the “Race to Market Challenge” which is effectively a competition for app developers with a trophy, chances for boosted promotion, and even a Surface on offer.
The reason both Palm and Microsoft are so desperate to get their own App Stores up and running is because of Apple. Its iTunes App Store is, as everybody knows, thriving. Apple revealed during last week’s iPod event that the app count had passed 75,000–it was only a month ago that the 65,000 figure was topped, so this represents an astonishing quantity of offerings for iPhone and iPod Touch users. And, of course, it directly equates to an astonishing quantity of cash flowing into Apple’s coffers. That’s what Microsoft and Palm are chasing, even if they have to spend a fistful of cash to make it work.