How Microsoft Capitalized on the Death of webOS and Attracted 1000+ webOS Developers to Windows Phone 7

Right after HP announced that it would be discontinuing webOS operations, effectively killing the TouchPad and webOS phones, Microsoft made a very smart move.

Brandon Watson, Director for Windows Phone 7, immediately tweeted this:

To Any Published WebOS Devs: We’ll give you what you need to be successful on #WindowsPhone, phones, dev tools, and training, etc.

With Windows Phone 7 still not as popular as Android or iOS among developers , this was a great initiative by Microsoft to strengthen the numbers of its army of developers.

Soon after he tweeted this, there was a deluge of replies from published webOS developers who had applications on the webOS store.

Today, Brandon confirmed that he had received more than 500 emails from webOS developers about the Windows Phone 7 offer, in less than 22 hours after the first tweet.

I have >500 emails in just the last 22 hours. Had to rethink the algorithm for responding to all.

With webOS dead, Android and iOS are the only two major platforms out there. However, iOS is locked on to Apple devices, and Android may now be perceived as impartial, thanks to Google’s Motorola acquisition. Windows Phone 7 may be the only major platform available for hardware manufacturers who don’t want to develop their own software.

Lately, Microsoft has been getting along really well with the developer community. Moves like these will help Microsoft, which has an improved image now in developer circles. Microsoft may be the greatest beneficiary of the untimely demise of webOS.

Update: Over 1000 webOS developers have contacted Brandon now.

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  • Roark Dority

    I feel so badly for all those involved in the development of WebOS, starting with Jonathan Oakes, Director of Touchpad Product Management, HP. Nowhere have I seen or heard him come forward to speak about what seems like a deliberate killing of one’s own product line by HP, an ‘inside job’ if you will. So now the computer maker giant, HP, is doing Micro$oft’s biddings.
    As a developer myself, I considered iOS but clearly would be trying to catch a wave! Hardly able to even justify the huge cost of an iPhone or iPad for testing any apps, and bored with what I’d already seen with iOS, I was very late to the Windows Phone 7 party, but found myself liking it much more than Apple’s line. Yet with WP7, it’s as if I would be trying to catch a ghost!
    Enter Windows 8 Consumer Pre Release.. I was probably somewhere in the middle of their 1,000,000 downloads the 1st day. After recovering from having some files corrupted on my hard drive, due to a Windows 7 / Windows 8 dual boot incompatibility, I’m still not impressed with Windows 8. It’s boxy from the interface icons to the boxed-in feel of the Apple like ecosystem that Microsoft so badly wants to imitate.
    From its weirdness with two versions of Internet Explorer to the missing start button, even in the desktop side, to talk of Metro hardly being a good approach for a Desktop OS, to the major uphill climb in apps offerings, Microsoft clearly has the work cut out for itself. In a way, if ever there was a company that could pull it off, it would be them.
    But it’s a different world today from yesterday. Here we are coming up on a year since HP pulled the plub on the Touchpad and WebOS. And just months away (?) from a Windows 8 release, followed immediately by a cascade of tablets running it. Only time will tell. Kind of makes you wonder what things will look like a year from now.
    The book I ordered a few months ago on Windows 8 Development has been delayed. Interesting.
    Meanwhile, I’m so bored with Windows 8 and iOS that I’ve decided to take the plunge and get a tablet of my own, just for fun, instead of for testing purposes. In looking around, I’ve rediscovered HP’s Touchpad which I’d passed up at least 6 months ago when it was clear to me that HP was no longer making them.
    I may have missed the $99 for a tablet mass hysteria but I still see incredible merit in the Touchpad and WebOS. Hopefully WebOS will be released into the open source domain and will be able to thrive! I should think HP could start up the Touchpad presses again if they really wanted to. Originally asking $399 or more, HP clearly hadn’t found the sweet spot which perhaps lays somewhere in between.
    I’m looking forward to receiving the refurbished 32Gb Touchpad I ordereed for $199, since from what I can tell, WebOS could be a model for user interfaces to come! When I watched the videos of Jonathan Oakes presenting the Touchpad I said to myself, THIS is what Windows 8 should have been!
    Perhaps therein lies the real rub. Is it true HP hadn’t reached their target (after only a month and a half) or did Microsoft force HP’s hand in supplying future tablets with Windows?