Microsoft Makes Play For WebOS Developers

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Microsoft is coaxing webOS developers left in the lurch by HP’s shock move to switch to Windows Phone

Microsoft has lost no time in making a play for developers left in limbo by HP’s announcement last week that it will disband its webOS hardware division.

Brandon Watson, the director in charge of developers for Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, on Friday posted a note on Twitter to the effect that published webOS developers would be given free access to Windows Phone developer tools on request. The tweet immediately gained a flood of responses.

Starter pack

“To any published webOS devs: we’ll give you what you need to be successful on #WindowsPhone, including free phones, dev tools, and training, etc.,” Watson tweeted.

Watson told developers to email him to receive a “starter pack” that includes links to resources as well as contact information for “mobile champs” that would supply the necessary developer hardware.

“Devices come from mobile champs, and that requires you connecting with them,” Watson tweeted.

He said he was responding to emails as quickly as possible but had been inundated with responses.

webOS shift

The move came a day after HP said it would shut down its webOS hardware division, effectively giving up on its relatively new tablets and smartphones. HP also said it is seriously considering the divestiture of its personal computer businesses, much as IBM did in 2005 with its own sale to China’s Lenovo.

For Microsoft’s part, it is struggling to compete with better-established smartphone rivals, despite Nokia’s agreement to drop its own smartphone softare in favour of Windows Phone.

Developers are a key part of that competition, supplying the arsenal of applications that make a platform desirable for users.

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