At a large hall on Bangalore’s outskirts, software giant Microsoft is busy with an endeavour to make it to the Guinness World Records for the most number of apps programmed for a single platform in 18 hours.
Enthused by the response of over 3,500 developers, including students, who have gathered here with ideas to be translated into code and market-ready apps on the Windows 8 platform, the Redmond-based software major believes that this feat is unparalleled. Of course, while app fests are quite common these days, it is the first time that Microsoft is introducing an app store for its non-mobile ecosystem.
An added advantage for Microsoft is that this also helps generate some hype around its next big release, Windows 8, slated to release on October 26. The 18-hour event is a non-stop marathon that commenced at around 2 p.m. on Friday and will go on till 8 a.m. on Saturday.
Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India, noted that IT in India was a $ 100-billion industry, contributing to 7.5 per cent of the GDP. Although growth rates were slowing down, the sector was stable, which was perhaps why India was the only country where Microsoft was doing an event of this scale, he emphasised. He said 2 Gigabits of bandwidth was coming into the venue, and six power generating stations were deployed to support an event of this scale.
Introducing the Windows 8 AppFest, Jon DeVaan, Corporate Vice-President, Windows Development, Microsoft, said this event provided an “unparalleled economic opportunity” to Indian developers. This, he says, owes to the fact that Windows8 is the only platform where developers will be given full control over in-app purchases (not having to share revenue with the company), while the others developers will have to give 30 per cent of the first $ 25,000 the app generates, and 20 per cent thereafter. In case, the app owner uses Microsoft’s payment gateway, they will have to share profits, Mr. DeVaan explained.
Raising the pitch for the release of Windows 8, Mr. DeVaan compared this to the launch of Windows 95, which represented a “generational shift” by introducing 32-bit computing. “This is going to make a similar impact.”
He added, “Windows offers app developers state-of-the-art design and development tools, the freedom and flexibility to use a choice of programming languages, including HTML/JSS, global reach to 1.3 billion users, and industry-leading revenue sharing. Simply put, Windows 8 offers the most significant developer opportunity ever.”
Kunal Chaurasia, senior developer at Flipkart, who is part of the development team for the MP3 application Flyte, is looking forward to the release.
He explains that the Windows 8 developer environment is “friendly” and “least restrictive” for coders because there is no need to learn a new language, alluding to the iOS environment.
“Microsoft helped us in developing our app by providing guidelines, since this is a completely new platform. The good thing is that my app now looks very similar and gels in with the new look of the OS. It’s closely integrated and easy to use.” Mr. Chaurasia added that the provision to get full revenues in the case of in-app purchases was unique to this platform, and likely to attract a lot of developer interest.