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Windows Phone 8 having trouble attracting developers

Though Windows 8 may be exciting for its cross-platform access, app developers remain wary of building apps for Windows Phone 8.

Microsoft has promised that cross-platform development across the 8s – from Windows 8 on a desktop to Windows Phone 8 – will be a simple matter, but that's still not enough to get some developers moving on Windows Phone 8 support.

The Windows Phone platform has made a remarkable recovery since its reset with version 7. With that version, Microsoft threw out everything but the kernel and started over, resetting the application ecosystem to zero. Since then, WP7 has grown to 100,000 apps.

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But that pales in comparison to the 675,000 in Google Play and 700,000 in the Apple App Store. Granted, there's a ton of redundancy – how many weather or newsfeed apps does one person need? – but it points to availability and developer support.

A report from VentureBeat points out what should be obvious: that while developers like Windows 8, they aren't as excited about Windows Phone 8 software because they have already made huge investments in other platforms and don't want to support another platform.

It's an age-old problem, and one Apple has had to deal with since it launched. Supporting another platform is neither cheap nor easy and, for developers, is often out of the question. Even with the strong comeback the Mac has enjoyed, look at the packaged software section in a Fry's or Micro Center. There's nothing there.

A survey by IDC and Appcelerator found 78% of Android developers were "very interested" in programming for Android smartphones, a slight drop from the 83% in a prior survey. Interest in the iPhone and iPad remained undiminished, with 89% and 88% interest, respectively.

Windows Phone? It had a whole 37% interest. The one bit of good news was that at least it was doing better than BlackBerry, which was at 16% interest.

If there was a consolation for Microsoft, it was from developers who spoke to VentureBeat and said they would keep an eye on Windows Phone to see how well it does. Of course, that's a chicken and egg scenario, but at least they are watching.

One thing's for sure, Microsoft can't make the process difficult. Take this developer's experience in trying to get an app approved for the Microsoft Store, only to be rejected six times in two months. Some of the blame rests on his shoulders, I'm sure, but judging by the story he relays, Microsoft isn't exactly greasing the skids for him.

So, as always, stay tuned.

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