The body of WebOS is still warm, one day after Hewlett-Packard announced it would cease developing the platform — indeed, HP may yet find a buyer who can bring it back to life. But Microsoft is wasting no time in luring the mourners away with free gifts and offers of support.
Microsoft’s chief Windows Phone evangelist, Brandon Watson, tweeted this afternoon: “To Any Published WebOS Devs: We’ll give you what you need to be successful on #WindowsPhone, incl.free phones, dev tools, and training, etc.”
The latest version of Windows Phone 7, codename Mango, has reached the release stage and will be officially launched this fall — so it’s prime time for Redmond to try wooing developers. Mango adds features such as multitasking and cloud integration to what has so far been a fairly moribund platform.
And it looks as if Watson has had a smattering of interest. He spent the afternoon tweeting the same reply to inquiries: “Send me an email, tell me where you are located, and we connect you to one of our mobile champs for some personal attention.” (Watson’s email, for those interested, is thephone@microsoft dot com.)
Windows Phone may be among the least popular smartphone platforms at the moment, but analysts expect that to change in short order. A recent prediction from Gartner says WP7 will double its market share in 2012 to 10%, and hit 20% by 2015. If those numbers are for real, app developers who get in early could be looking at a gold rush as new users pour in. And Microsoft, flush with cash and desperate for attention in the mobile space, is hardly likely to abandon the platform any time soon. That will come as a comfort to anyone currently feeling burned by HP.
Will Microsoft’s tactics work? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.