Microsoft TechRewards program for developers to shut down on Jan. 6, 2017

Builiding (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has revealed it plans to shut down its TechRewards program on January 6, 2017. The program, designed to offer rewards to software developers, began at Nokia under the name DVLUP.

Nokia started DVLUP in 2012, offering Windows Phone app developers a way to earn points, and compete against others on a leaderboard, so they could earn XP, badges, prizes and more for their work to expand the platform. This "gamification" system continued after Microsoft acquired Nokia's Devices and Services division in 2014, and in 2015, the program was renamed as Microsoft TechRewards, expanding to include Windows 10 app developers.

Today, TechRewards members were sent emails informing them that all the current challenges have been completed and removed from the site, and that members can no longer earn any more points, XP or Badges. Any points that members have collected have to be redeemed for prizes no later than Jan. 6. 2017. The email added:

We believe other Microsoft programs more closely associated with products and services can best support users in their technical journey.

More information on the shutdown of Microsoft TechRewards can be found on its website{.nofollow}. If you are a Windows developer, how do you feel about this decision to close down Microsoft TechRewards? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Thanks to Hacer and Ashish for the tips!

John Callaham
  • I feel bad for a program like this to shutdown. I was able to get windows store, amazon gift cards and a lumia 520 when it was DVLUP.
  • Everything initiated by Nokia is shutting down, but...guys, no problem! We have WhartonBrooks with the rebadged Coship phone on the way!!! (and ten more articles to follow about this "company" to keep us entertained)
  • I've been with the program since it started, and have gotten a handful of stuff, including a Lumia 822, and wireless charging back for it. I'm sad to see it go, however, the problems with the site in the beginning seem to have followed Microsoft right up to the end. I got an email yesterday that said I was in the top 1% of participants (that alone shocks me, as I've only had 5 apps in the store over the years), and included a discount code to get me 10% off on whatever I want with my remaining points. I haven't participated in a long time, so I only have 150 points to use, but hey, why not, right? Well, trying to copy/paste the code into the supplied form was a challenge. I'm not sure if it was Outlook (desktop) not letting my copy, or Edge not letting me paste, but it took several minutes to get the code copied/pasted into the form. Then, when I submitted the form with the Redeem button, I was reminded of what plagued DVLUP from the very start and was never solved: You try to submit a form to the site, and you get a 403 - not authorized error. So much for a discount code.  
  • Pretty bummed.  Got some nice rewards over the last 2 years from the program.  Helped keep me motivated to continue adding features.    
  • Microsoft is shutting down so much.
  • I bet they'll eventually sell off or shutter everything hardware related and all that would be left are software and services. Because it'll be everywhere and that's where all the money it's...... Less like apple, more like google
  • Google just announced lots of new hardware. Including smartphones.
  • Yea.. Sad, sad smartphones
  • Sad sad smartphones the are MILES ahead of the crappy windows products.
  • The writing on the wall is becoming a neon sign -- and flashing.
  • It's funny tho, when I mention this then I get down voted lol
  • .......with a slight buzz just to make sure you look at it!
  • Yet many still dont see it.
  • Just what we need, less developers.
  • When we say mobile first, we really mean mobility first. Me and myself, April 24, 2014
  • Really sad. What a great way to solve the "App" problem!!
  • Didn't end up being such a great way - I've been with it since it started, which was way back when Nokia first got into Windows Phone, and look where it's gotten us.
  • Me too. I have published few apps and got the rewards of it. Loved it. I am on a visa. So, I am not allowed to have any external income (by selling apps for example). But, I still wanted to help out the Windows platform with my coding skills. This was a great program for someone like me to contribute for the Windows ecosystem and get something in return.
  • Great, remove more incentives to develop for the platform! Seriously who is making these nutty decisions? They need all the apps they can get and to remove a large incentive like this... sure it may not have been largely successful but what about those who actively participated therefore updated their apps which otherwise would have floundered in the store. It's decisions liks this that sends the wrong signals to developers especially those arguing a case for a universal app within their own companies.
  • Nutty decisions? Why of course Nuttella
  • I sir, salute your pun :D
  • Yes, Nutella, that's me!
  • These incentives didn't incentivize the developers behind the apps that people really want. They don't need all the apps they can get, they need the top 10,000 apps and this program won't help with that at all. No bank, retail chain or serious startup will look at this program and figure, hey let's spend a lot of money on developers to target a platform with no users because we can get an Xbox Music subscription with the credits we'll earn.
  • BINGO! Perfectly said. Some of the comments on this thread are absurd.
  • @Eshy, I'm sorry I disagree. They need both quality and quantity. Too many bean counters when it comes to the number of apps a platform has. The number of apps is the easiest number to use to tarnish or showcase a store. Especially to the average laymen, who is the target for most of the technosphere hence all the click baity headlines. It's not the programme, it's about perception and mind share. That's why Apple and Samsung are aces at Marketing. They are selling a lifestyle (ecosystem) not a product. Apps are a fundamental part of an ecosystem. Furthermore news like this can be spun very negatively i.e "Microsoft is going to kill WM after all because they don't developers making apps at all". See what i mean? Actions speak louder than words.
  • By all means down vote, websites for instance aren't going to allow you to make mobile cheque deposits. You need a app or web wrapper/app combo in simplest terms. Especially since Edge on phones will take awhile before it is "full featured" even then I doubt they will let it access the camera and mic due to the potential security risks.
  • lol of course you going to be down voted. You know how some fan boys are.   Anyways, remember a lot of devs start small. Even the likes of whatsapp started small and grew. So it's not only essential for the big players to develop, but the small ones too. Every bit counts in the windows mobile store
  • I mostly agree with you. I was in DVLUP within the first month. DVLUP was awesome. When MS took it over it became less so. Did you guys know that Nokia had app challenges that were actually business ideas (full on)? It was like they were looking at the various app stores and looking to encourage folks making alternatives or for that matter making actual apps that were clients for services where the API was open (I built more than a couple of these). When MS took over they had the same "create a new app" challenges, but the specific app challenges were gone. They also kept the "Frankenstein App challenges" (Build an app that uses three of the following technologiies: NFC, Music, GPS, and Mapping). The challenges were for much lower point values (and the cost of rewards with your points was higher as well.. so you needed to create 10+ new apps in order to think about getting something nice.. I'll leave it at that, but you can guess on the quality of app). They then muddied the water, because the various departments at MS got involved, so it expanded to giving you points for doing challenges using Azure or Office or watching something on Microsoft Virtual Academy). Admittedly I have still been active over there (I look to see what's available in the way of challenges to do although I haven't done any challenges in 6 months.. The big thing was that I wasn't going to muddy the store with more crappy apps). Tomorrow will be the first day I have missed heading over to Tech rewards in a long time (i usually visit the site daily).. I cashed out this morning getting myself a Windows Store Gift card with 175 points left over. I'm actually sad (although I could go on about how it wasn't really solving the problem; it was just MS giving me and others free stuff).
  • Yes DVLUP was great and Nokia has some great ideas... They even asked me to to develop an app or update one and they sent me a phone in return... I was in heaven... We are talking about Nokia in Finland... I had a blast.. Then DVLUP days was my favorite to get out and meet other devs and get to the main source and work with Microsoft directly... Going to miss it all
  • This 100%. I got my share of prizes, but it's been probably 2 years since I bothered to submit an app to a challenge, and like you, probably six months or more since I took one of the quizzes.
  • 1% Market share and MS focussing on enterprise, its a sound business decision to me.
  • Who s still developing here..?
    Waiting for next ceo.
  • Next CEO? I'm gonna stay forever! Vivat Nutella!
  • Lols
  • 1% market share yet an app developer now has a potential market off 400million devices and growing.  
  • Those numbers are mostly from PC users, and apps are mostly meaningless to them.
  • They increased the points to get the rewards too. I for a year groove pass for 1250 points just 5 days ago. Now 1400.
  • True, There is nothing worth to buy using points.
    So I used them all to donate for various causes.
  • I was in this program from day 1 (I was even the first one to complete a challenge) and it was a great program when Microsoft/Nokia were still trying to get developers to target their platform. They gave away a lot of hardware, software and other things. When Nokia was still running it I heard that some developers monetization strategy was dvlup (you could get lots of points for having a lot of reviews and you could cash it in for gift cards that were probably more than you'll make on paid apps or ads). While it was great, it was mostly a way to bring in hobbyist developers and .Net developers who were going to target WP regardless of this program. It didn't help bring in any iOS/Android developers and it was really just a waste of resources so it makes sense to shut it down. I was actually surprised it was still around when I saw their booth at Build...
  • Great point, especially coming from a developer.
  • This is really bad of Microsoft. The TechRewards program was a good motivator for us when building windows apps. I feel Microsoft is going the opposite way of google. It is just making the Windows 10 UWP platform uncertain for developers.
  • Very sad. Microsoft definitely let it slide after they bought the Lumia brand from Nokia.
  • well maybe its finally time to drop it in the trash and pickup an ios or android device.
  • Yeah me too.
  • This was never the type of program that helped bring big name developers/apps to the platform, so it's not a big loss. However it was great for the little devs out there. Gave incentive to do more, try more.
  • Great, it's a welcome "developerment". Windows Mobile is less than one percent of the smartphone market, so why waste resources on non innovative developers? The resources should be redistributed to "Microsoft Garage Team" for their numerous Windows Phone Appz and ideaz. I like... *Selbstmitleid*
  • Microsoft Garage Team develops for iOS & Android. Microsoft Garbage Team develops for W10M.
  • Lol
  • Oh no, not only that. We have Garbage Teams everywhere, on every product!
  • Going to miss DVLUP/TechRewards... It was a awesome program and I have meet so many other devs in the program also. I do hope there is another program for us devs to work with and earn some cool tools and swag... But most of all, to learn even more development skills.