It is even going so far as to finance the development of Windows Phone versions of well-known apps — something that app makers estimate would otherwise cost them anywhere from $60,000 to $600,000, depending on the complexity of the app. The tactic underscores the strong positions of Google and Apple, neither of which have to pay developers to make apps.
I find something soothing in Microsoft’s predictability under Ballmer when it comes to strategic decisions such as subsidizing app development on mobile. Microsoft has had a very strong point of view on platform economics (at scale) and their actions reflect this unwavering stance. Their decision making feels like they’re done at scale (e.g. like how a government may make decisions on tax cuts).
It’s clear that Microsoft understands how valuable the mobile platform is and is willing to be persistent, patient, and invest a lot to rapidly gain share.