Shrinking software giant Microsoft is dreadfully behind competitors Apple and Google with its Windows Phone product. Shrinking phone-manufacturing giant Nokia is dreadfully behind competitors Apple, HTC, Samsung, etc. with its high-end smartphones like the Lumia line. Both companies realize that apps are needed to increase software adoption and hardware sales. So what are Microsoft and Nokia going to do? Throw money at the problem! The companies will spend up to nine-million Euros each on AppCampus, “a newly established mobile application development program at Aalto University.” Read on for more details.
Here’s an excerpt from the official announcement:
The AppCampus program has been set up to foster the creation of innovative mobile applications for the Windows Phone ecosystem, and in addition, Nokia platforms, including Symbian and Series 40, to create a new generation of self-sustaining mobile startups.
Kicking off in May 2012, the Finland-based program will be led and managed by Aalto University, which has a growing reputation as a hotbed of new startup companies. AppCampus is intended to attract thousands of application proposals from students and entrepreneurs from all over the world. Aalto University will make a significant contribution to the project by providing premises, coaching services, and access to both academic and business networks for budding app developers.
Despite the verbiage in the announcement, this initiative is all about Windows Phone. While the Symbian platforms are still globally popular, particularly in third-world countries, Windows Phone has the most pressing (glaring) need and the biggest opportunity.
As an operating system, I’m really impressed by Windows Phone. It’s smooth and has several innovative features that can’t be found on Android or iOS. That said, it’s sorely lacking in the apps department; these days a robust software ecosystem is as important — some would argue more important — than great hardware, which Nokia has always had. The OS is there. The hardware is there. It will be interesting to see if this initiative will bring the apps to the NokiSoft party.
Personally, I’m just hoping some wacky Finnish developer will take some of these millions and make a cool game drenched with that awesomely wry Finnish sense of humor. They could call it Condom Commando, as an homage Nokia’s predecessor Finnish Rubber Works. Ah, the dream.