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Microsoft Is Writing Checks to Fill Out Its App Store
06 Apr 2012 EDT - The New York Times
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It is even going so far as to finance the development of Windows Phone versions of well-known apps — something that app makers estimate would otherwise cost them anywhere from $60,000 to $600,000, depending on the complexity of the app. The tactic underscores the strong positions of Google and Apple, neither of which have to pay developers to make apps.

When Microsoft offered to underwrite a Windows Phone version of Foursquare, the mobile social network, Holger Luedorf, Foursquare’s head of business development, did not hesitate to say yes.

“We have very limited resources, and we have to put them toward the platforms with the biggest bang for our buck,” he said. “But we are a social network and it is incredibly important for us to be available on every platform.”

Foursquare has in-house engineers working on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry versions of its service. But had Microsoft not offered to pay an outside company to do the work, Mr. Luedorf said Foursquare would “probably not” have developed an app for Windows Phone.

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