Microsoft Phone Sees Boost in App Activity After Nokia Deal

Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone 7 operating system has lured an increasing number of application developers since the software maker announced a partnership with Nokia Oyj last week, according to analytics firm Flurry Inc.

In the four days after the Feb. 11 deal, 4 percent of new app projects started were for Windows Phone, compared with 1 percent in the previous four days, according to data from Flurry, which tracks mobile games and programs.

New projects for Windows Phone passed Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry and now rank third behind new apps for Apple Inc.’s iOS and Google Inc.’s Android, Flurry said. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, which agreed last week to have its Windows Phone software power Nokia handsets, is working to turn around market-share losses to Apple and Google. A wide variety of applications is critical to attracting mobile-phone users.

Apple’s software for the iPhone was the platform for 69 percent of apps started in the 4 days after Feb. 11. Android had 25 percent. BlackBerry was fourth with 2 percent.

Flurry predicts most developers will build apps for three operating systems, meaning RIM and Microsoft are likely to compete for the No. 3 spot, Peter Farago, vice president of marketing at Flurry, said in an e-mail.

International Appeal

Crowdbeacon, maker of an app that lets users ask questions about nearby businesses, is now planning to release a Windows Phone 7 version, lured by Nokia’s international position, said Robert Boyle, the company’s chief executive officer.

The Crowdbeacon program, which lets customers ask things like where to get a haircut nearby in the next 45 minutes, now is focused on the U.S. A planned international expansion means Nokia customers are a key audience, Boyle said.

“We weren’t even considering it before,” he said of Windows Phone 7. “It just lags behind in users in the U.S. The Nokia deal changed that.” The Crowdbeacon app was released a week ago for Apple’s iOS.

The reported surge in interest in Windows Phone comes on top of an increase that started showing up early last week as speculation about the deal mounted, Flurry reported in a Feb. 11 posting on its Web site.

Microsoft, the largest software maker, rose 6 cents to $27.02 at 4 p.m. New York time on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The shares had dropped 3.4 percent this year before today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dina Bass in Seattle at dbass2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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