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Beating Apple's exclusivity: How Microsoft caters to developers while Google does not

Recently, in a jocular back and forth between Matthew Mller (ZDNet), myself and Chad Garrett of TiPB, Chad suggested that we're enjoying just old ports of iPhone games and therefore nothing special when it comes to things like Assassin's Creed.

But after reading John Gruber's excellent article on Where Are the Android Killer Apps? I realized that Microsoft has done something that Google/Android have not: taken away Apple's exclusivity on various games and killer apps. Sure, we don't have nearly as many and are still lacking some big ones, but isn't that just a matter of time? Here's Gruber's quote on the matter which sums it up perfectly:

A final thought, regarding Android’s relative weakness as a software platform. iOS’s exclusivity for a bunch of big-name mobile games — Need for Speed Undercover, Star Wars: Battle for Hoth, Monopoly, Tetris, The Sims, Assassin’s Creed — has been broken. Not by Android, where none of these games exist, but by Windows Phone 7, a one-month-old platform.

That really is huge. Why, despite how popular Android is, have they failed to get many big titles? Why no killer, exclusive apps, except the closely held "Google experience" ones (e.g. Gmail, Google Talk)? We already know about why there's no Netflix (poor security, fragmentation).

Of course we know the answer: Microsoft puts a lot of emphasis on courting developers, even throwing money at them to cover the cost of development. Sure it's brash, perhaps uncouth but it works. Remember, this about the ends (consumer experience) not so much the means (save it for you business ethics class). Fact is, at this pace, Microsoft and Windows Phone 7 will have more quality big-name offerings than Android, who's big sellers instead tend to be ones that modify or fix the OS.

Sounds a lot like our old Windows Mobile, aka the past.

So yes, Apple, we'll take your ports and exclusives and any apps that make your platform "unique"--you'll loose that  and a reason for people to choose your product over Windows Phone 7.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • I'm primarily a Microsoft Developer, and I've never received any money from Microsoft, but I do thank them for a development environment and tool set that doesn't make me want to bash my head into the concrete (see Android\java's eclipse, and iphones Xcode). I don't consider it 'brash, perhaps uncouth' to not want your developers lives to be hell, but I'd also take any money.
  • Shouldn't the title be Baiting
  • Nice try, but no. Unlike actual baiting, like yours, the article makes a good point: apps that used to be exclusively available on iPOS are becoming available on the only recently debuted WP7 while still taking a while, if at all, on the 2-year-old and more popular Android. Despite all the fear and hate leading to and after the release of WP7, it's becoming clearer that MS made the correct decision in starting anew, rather than continuing on the path it was on.
  • Not really, because Android is a PITA to develop for, especially when it comes to more intensive stuff like games. Though just doing the graphics for a game, the programmer I'm working with, who was an early Android adopter, is sick of it from that perspective.
  • The first day I purchased my evo I thought where are the movie apps and where are the games? I'm so glad I have a wp7 device!!!!!
  • The problem is that Microsoft made the bad decision to keep the "windows" name in the new OS. If u ask 10 people which OS is more modern Android or WP7, 9 of them will answer Android (which is of course not true)
  • This article is incorrect as far as WP7 being the platform to break the exclusivity. A lot of those games you mentioned came out on the webOS platform months ago; some of them at the beginning of this year. I haven't had my Palm Pre for a few months now so I haven't kept track but I know that at least Need for Speed, Tetris, Monopoly, and The Sims were all on webOS.
  • Fair enough on the games but it misses the large point of Gruber's article which we can now ask about PalmOS: Where are the killer PalmOS apps? Because I don't see any and certainly the buying public doesn't know either.
  • Shouldn't it say "lose" rather than "loose"?/grammarnazi
  • Rereading after following a link from Parachute Panic ( response to the idea that Microsoft is being a bit on the shady side for paying developers to create games, I'm calling BS. How is this any different from any company hiring contractors? In some cases the company outright owns the fruits of the contractors' labors; in others the contractors' own the rights. I've been in both situations, and both are far from shady.