Developers say, "We love Windows Phone" but fail to cash in

More developers plan to write apps for Windows Phone than any other platform, concludes a recently finished survey. But their interest has been waning, and a significant problem is that Windows Phone's revenue potential simply hasn't been there. If this continues, Windows Phone could fall even further behind iOS and Android in app availability.

Vision Mobile recently completed what it said is the biggest survey of mobile developers -- more than 6,000 respondents in 115 countries. It found that more developers have plans to build apps for Windows Phone than for any other mobile platform, 35 percent of them.

That certainly sounds like good news for Windows Phone. And it is. But if you dig a little bit deeper, you'll find there are some problems as well. Start off with the obvious: More developers plan to write apps for Windows Mobile, because they're already writing apps for iOS and Android, and have yet to tap the Windows 8 market. The survey found that 71 percent are already developing for Android, and 56 percent for iOS. Developers naturally are looking for new markets, and Windows Phone is the next in line after Android and iOS.

The 35 percent interest is less-than-stellar when you consider that the number is down significantly from previous Vision Mobile surveys. The survey notes:

The strong interest in Windows Phone observed in past surveys is still there (35% of developers planning to adopt WP) but has subsided considerably since November 2012 (47%) as new contenders BlackBerry 10 and Firefox OS are capturing developer attention.

Another problem for Windows Phone is developer revenue. On average, iOS developers get $5,200 per month from their apps, Android developers get $4,700, and Windows Phone developers get $3,600. So a Windows developer can expect to get about 31% less revenue than an IOS developer. That's not exactly a big-time incentive.

It's gotten to the point where developers don't expect to make much money from Windows Phone, but they do expect to make money from Android and iOS. When developers are asked to list all the reasons they select a platform to develop for, they don't put revenue potential high on the list for Windows Phone. It was the number one reason developers say they develop for iOS -- 55% of developers listed it as a reason. It was the number two reason for Android developers, at 37%. But it wasn't even on the list of the top three reasons developers list for choosing Windows Phone.

So yes, it's good news that more developers plan to write apps for Windows Phone than for other platforms. But with revenue potential lagging, and new challengers such as Firefox coming onboard, that 35% of developer interest in Windows Phone may well drop.

To express your thoughts on Computerworld content, visit Computerworld's Facebook page, LinkedIn page and Twitter stream.
Windows 10 annoyances and solutions
Shop Tech Products at Amazon
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.