Microsoft is finding that app development for the Windows Store is not going make much progress without a fight.
With that said, the company is getting creative -- or desperate, depending on your point of view -- with a new promotional program called Keep the Cash. It offers developers $100 (via an online-only Visa card) for each app they create for the Windows Store or Windows Phone Store.
The most Microsoft will pay an individual developer is $2,000 for 10 Windows Store apps and 10 Windows Phone Store apps. The amount of total apps eligible for the program taps out at 10,000 apps or the program termination date of June 30, whichever comes first.
Microsoft is clearly in need of more Windows 8 apps, so the program does create an incentive to generate apps quickly.
However, it does look desperate. Outright paying people to be on your team strongly implies that the natural demand is not there. Also, this is not the kind of incentive that appeals to talented, committed developers, but rather fly-by-nighters who are just looking to make some quick cash.
But at least Microsoft is keeping the Keep the Cash program temporary. It's a short-term way to pump some life into the Windows 8 app ecosystem. Will it work?
Here are some stories from around the Web on Microsoft's Keep the Cash program.
Though still the dominant player in the lethargic PC space, Microsoft has struggled with its newest platforms to loosen iOS and Android's stranglehold over the mobile market. In that sense, The Keep the Cash incentives can be seen as Microsoft's pragmatic acknowledgement that it is playing from behind. (Informationweek)
The Keep the Cash promotion is Microsoft's first overt cash-for-apps program, a tactic rivals Google and Apple have never used to attract submissions. To one analyst, the $100-per-app pitch was an ill omen. (Computerworld)
In a statement to AllThingsD, a representative said that paying developers is not its primary strategy, noting that the promotion is a limited-time offer that runs only through the end of June. (AllThingsD)
Publish an app in the Windows Store by June 30 and Microsoft will give you a $100 Visa card. Developers can submit up to 20 applications for a total of $2,000 in rewards. As promotions go, this is an odd one and not something that happens in a healthy app ecosystem. (Ars Technica)