Can Microsoft still compete in the mobile arena? Windows Phone 7 might
be the company's last chance, as it's unlikely that Microsoft will ever
be able to catch up to Apple's iPhone and Google's Android if it
doesn't make a big splash now.
But if one report is accurate, Microsoft thinks it has what it takes to compete: a really big bank account.
These days it may seem like just about every company on the web is
building its own development platform. Enticed by the success of
platforms like those offered by Apple, Facebook, Twitter and
Salesforce, more and more companies are deciding to give third party
developers the ability to make their products and services better.
Yet as we have seen time and time again, building and managing a
development platform can be very difficult. For that reason, companies
need to be prepared and strategic if they hope to build a successful
platform that can thrive long-term. Here are ten tips for doing just that.
What happens when Web 2.0 startups founded on principles of openness
and freedom grow up? If we're referring to Facebook and Twitter, the
answer is obvious: get a business model.
Unfortunately, finding a business model and implementing it
successfully can be hard to do, especially when you previously invited
third party developers to your 'open' platform and told them to keep
the change. So it's really no surprise that Facebook and Twitter, which
have collectively raised north of three-quarters of a billion dollars
in financing, are finding it necessary to pull the good old bait and
switch on developers.
Online payments behemoth PayPal thinks developers are key in its quest for world domination. Late last year, it launched a portfolio of new APIs that PayPal hopes will give developers the ability to create applications that extend PayPal's footprint into markets in which it believes its payment solutions could be better utilized.
But if the credit card associations have their way, PayPal will have to compete for the best developers.
Facebook has sat by and watched as prominent application developers
have made millions upon millions of dollars on its platform, primarily
through virtual currency. Not surprisingly, Facebook wants a piece of
the action and is moving to take a piece of the action.
But that may not be so easy if the results of early deal making efforts
are any indication. Application developer Zynga, which operates some of
the most popular social gaming apps on Facebook, including Farmville
and Mafia Wars, may leave Facebook and set up its own gaming social
network after negotiations with Facebook over the use of Facebook's
upcoming universal payments and credits system reportedly fell apart.
HTML5 is coming, and a growing number of companies are trying to kick
the Flash habit, even if on a limited basis. The latest: popular online
document sharing service Scribd.
According to the startup's CTO, "We are scrapping three years of Flash
development and betting the company on HTML5 because we believe HTML5
is a dramatically better reading experience than Flash."
The iPhone OS 4 SDK was released last week, but it's not all good news
for iPhone (and iPad) developers. That's because Section 3.3.1 of the iPhone Developer
Program License Agreement comes with a new catch:
Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by
Apple and must not use or call any private APIs.
Fred Wilson, a well-known venture capitalist whose firm has invested in
Twitter, published a blog post earlier this week that raised eyebrows
amongst third party developers who develop on the Twitter platform.
The reason? It sent an ominous message to many of them: Twitter might put you out of business soon.
Developers have flocked to Apple's iPhone SDK, but there is a significant barrier to entry: knowledge of Objective-C, the programming language that is used to build native iPhone apps.
Fortunately, cooking up a hot iPhone app doesn't require you to get too geeky. Developers who don't know Objective-C, or who don't want to learn yet another programming language, can build native iPhone apps using these five tools.
When Steve Ballmer repeated the now-famous and parodied words, "Developers,
developers, developers", he may have been far more sane than he looked at the time.
From Apple to Facebook, some of
today's most successful and popular internet companies are taking
advantage of third party developers to extend their products and make
them more useful and appealing. In many cases, these companies owe some
of their success to developers.