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Microsoft greases the skids for Windows 8 developers

Microsoft Build 2012 attendees receive free Microsoft tablets, phones, storage, SDKs to encourage Windows 8 apps

By , Network World
October 30, 2012 04:29 PM ET
Steve Ballmer

Network World - How badly does Microsoft need attractive applications for its Windows 8 operating system?

So badly that it's giving everyone attending its Build 2012 developers conference a Surface tablet/PC, 100GB of free cloud storage via SkyDrive, a free Nokia Lumia 920 Windows 8 phone and a discounted developer's registration to the Windows store.

The company also announced the availability of a software developer's kit for Windows Phone 8.

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The goal is to get developers to buy into the Microsoft mobility vision -- that applications can readily be written to run on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 machines, share resources via SkyDrive and make money for developers to boot.

During today's kickoff keynote for the four-day conference, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (pictured) himself ran through a demonstration of key Windows 8 features on machines as diverse as an 84-inch touchscreen, the Microsoft Surface tablet/laptop (where the tablet meets the PC, Ballmer says) and Windows Phone 8 smartphones.

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"This is our real step into the mobile world," Ballmer told the gathering in a tent on the Microsoft campus.

The company announced that ESPN, SAP and Twitter all plan or have ready Windows 8 applications, demonstrating to developers the elite realm in which they might play, too.

Presentations also hammered home how developers can make money off their apps. If they sell through the Windows store, they reap $75% of the take for the app up to $25,000, then they make 80%. Also, the developers' kit enables setting up a tile within the app that can host an advertisement that the developer can sell and change.

The apps can also support in sales within applications -- like buying a level upgrade for a game while logged into the game.

Ballmer showed how changes made to a document in OneNote and stored in SkyDrive show up when accessed by other devices. Similarly, changing the photo on the lock screen and storing that to SkyDrive appear on the user's other Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8 devices.

Ballmer says the launch of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 this fall when considered as a single event represent one of the top three events in Microsoft history, the other two being the release of the IBM PC with a Microsoft operating system and the launch of Windows 95.

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