By now you’ve likely heard about the announcement of our partnership with Nokia.
I’m incredibly excited about its long-term potential and how it could enable us to innovate, differentiate, and combine strengths to build a new global ecosystem that creates opportunities beyond anything that currently exists today. We’re creating an entirely new ecosystem of possibilities for developers.
For our part, Microsoft is first and foremost a platform company which means that nearly everything we do begins and ends with the developer community in mind. This deal is no exception. I want to share with you what I think this alliance means for Windows Phone developers.
In simplest terms, this alliance can dramatically increase the customer base for Windows Phones, and, by extension, your apps and games. This equates to both a larger and more localized consumer market for apps and games on handsets, as well as an acceleration of innovation in back-end services and core infrastructure.
For example, Nokia already has strong relationships with operators in more than 190 markets. Nokia also manages an application marketplace that delivers 4 million downloads per day; a channel that will complement the existing Windows Phone Marketplace experience to bring Windows Phone developers and Nokia customers together.
We will have more details to share about the marketplace strategy in the future, but our intent is to build upon the best of what both companies offer today.
From a tools and platform perspective, we’re working to make it as easy as possible for developers to take advantage of this new opportunity. Nokia’s Windows Phone portfolio will support existing Windows Phone applications, while Nokia’s existing developers can now enjoy an application platform that was specifically designed to make building amazing apps and games for Windows Phone quick and easy.
This means that Windows Phone apps and games will continue to use the free Windows Phone Developer Tools; comprised of Visual Studio 2010, Expression 4, Silverlight and the XNA Framework.
There are still significant details to work out with Nokia around exactly what types of devices are delivered, and when, so I won’t promise that there will be no work required to ensure that apps and games look great on these new phones. What I can promise is that we will work hard to give developers the tools, guidance and information to take full advantage of this great opportunity.
We are extremely proud of the way the Windows Phone developer community has stepped up already, with 8,000 amazing apps and games, 28,000 registered developers and more than 1 million tools downloaded.
We’ve also long been impressed with the creativity, passion and size of the Nokia developer community, and we will do all we can to bring that energy to Windows Phone. Our developer ecosystem has become one of our strongest assets and I couldn’t be more excited to share this new opportunity –both with Windows Phone developers, as well as a new community of Nokia developers that we now welcome to our platform.
We’ll have much more information to share in the coming months as we work out the details of the partnership and gather questions and perspectives from the developer community.
In the meantime, keep funneling your creative energy into those amazing Windows Phone apps and games you have been building. The stage on which you can shine just got bigger.
[Matt Bencke is General Manager for Developer and Marketplace for Microsoft's Mobile Communications Business. You can follow him on Twitter here. This blog post originally appeared on Microsoft’s game developer blog.]