At an Australian developer event late last week, Steve Ballmer decided to let loose a few thoughts on Microsoft's plan to soon launch a service to allow developers to reach consumers directly with their code. He wasn't ready to talk about it at the recent Professional Developers Conference, Ballmer said, along with all the other OS and cloud announcements, but the project is in the works, reports Computerworld.
Of course, the main impetus here is Apple's App Store, which Ballmer praised generally, while wondering about the strength of the revenue stream. And as far as Android and the Android Market is concerned, Ballmer sees no revenue stream at all and is not too worried, he says.
Now that Google has gotten the G1 phone onto the market, folks are watching to see if the plan is to create more mobile searchers viewing more Google ads. But Ballmer says, if that is the plan, it's not going to work because that is a simplistic view of the mobile marketplace: "If somebody thinks the formula is you give away your operating system to get search (usage), the operators are much too smart; they'll know they can still ask to be paid to carry your service."
Next up: RIM plans to unveil an application store of its own in 2009, appealing to developers of apps for its key loyal business users, says eWEEK.
Facebook is another leader that Microsoft is watching (partly from inside, as an owner) for insight on application development platforms for developers. Redmond has not released much information on its internal collaboration and social networking experiment, TownSquare, said to be a sort of Facebook for the enterprise. Perhaps it is a workspace for this developers' project, combining mobile and non-mobile?
IT Business Edge's Carl Weinschenk wrote recently that one battle in the war between Apple and the Open Handset Alliance "will be for the hearts, minds and code of the growing ranks of mobile developers who create those applications." When Microsoft joins the fight, the platform best designed to cater to the desires and needs of those developers, especially if its competitors make a misstep in pursuing their own revenue models, could throw those competitors off kilter.