The Business Opportunity with Windows 8

Below is a post from Steve Guggenheimer, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President and Chief Evangelist, Developer & Platform Evangelism, announcing details around Build 2012 and the opportunity for developers with Windows 8.

Today, we kicked off Build 2012, and invited the developer community to our Redmond campus to share in the tremendous opportunity with our Windows 8 wave of products. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Kevin Gallo, Director of Program Management, Windows Phone, took the stage today to showcase Windows … on the PC, the tablet, the phone, and at work and play.

The developer opportunity on Windows has never been greater. Between expected PC shipment volumes in the coming year and the incredibly flexible terms of the Windows Store, the path to app monetization on Windows represents a huge business opportunity to everyone from the independent developer with a great idea to the world’s biggest companies who develop apps, games and device experiences to reach customers, extend their brands and drive revenue. It’s easy to publish to the Windows Store and Microsoft offers the most developer-friendly revenue sharing terms on the market. Speaking of devices, we’re carrying forward momentum from our recent launch events to showcase the broad array of incredible tablets, notebooks, ultrabooks, desktops, All-in-Ones and phones that our OEM partners are bringing to market, as well as Microsoft Surface, all of which are very much a part of the developer opportunity on Windows.

Apps and Experiences on Windows

Windows is more accessible to more developers than it’s ever been in our history. Whether you’re a developer who builds apps for the Microsoft platform today, or an HTML5 developer looking for a new path to app monetization, everything you know about writing code comes with you to Windows 8, and today’s availability of the SDK for Windows Phone 8 makes building apps and experiences that span PC, tablet, and phone easier than ever before.

We’re seeing great momentum in the Windows Store. Companies such as Expedia, Fitbit,, SAP, and Twitter are all building apps for the Windows Store. During the keynote today, we showcased a number of them, from companies like Disney, LEGO, PayPal, ESPN, as well as Microsoft’s Bing and Skype apps for Windows 8, showing how applications are at the center of the Windows experience:

  • Disney’s Phineas and Ferb game, “Agent P Strikes Back”, aka Perry the Platypus, on Windows 8, and forthcoming on Windows Phone 8, showcases how easily browser-based games can become Windows Store apps. Disney developed the game for Windows 8 by taking advantage of Windows 8 HTML5 support as well as built-in capabilities like in-game sharing and support for an Xbox controller via USB. “Agent P Strikes Back” is the first of a series of games that Disney will bring to the Windows 8 platform, including the hit mobile games “Where’s My Water?” and “Where’s My Perry?”.
  • Dropbox’s new Windows Store app, coming soon, offers a cloud based storage and synchronization service for photos, documents and videos on Windows 8.
  • ESPN previewed a Windows Store app that re-imagines the ESPN experience with aggregated news, scores and video as well as ESPN The Magazine, ESPN podcasts and photo galleries. With Windows 8, ESPN’s app allows fans to pin specific sports and teams to their Start Screen.
  • The LEGO Group will deliver LEGO® Life of George, the award winning game that combines real LEGO Bricks and a smart device, with new unique features on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. With LEGO® Life of George, the LEGO Group is using Windows on mobile devices to explore the next frontier of childrens’ play, combining the physical world of LEGO bricks, the virtual and networked experiences and a child’s imagination and creativity.
  • NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory recently released a number of free experiences on PCs, Windows Phone and Xbox geared for inspiration and learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Making learning and discovery accessible, NASA’s Mars Exploration Program has now released “NASA Be A Martian” and “Mars Rover: Curiosity” as free Mars-related apps for Windows 8 PCs.
  • PayPal’s Windows 8 API enables developers to use the PayPal payment system within their Windows Store apps for simple and secure commerce activities for the more than 100 million active PayPal users. Crowdstar’s free Windows 8 game, Fish With Attitude, uses PayPal in-app purchases of game characters.
  • Unity, the cross-platform game engine and development environment, is deep into development on the Windows Phone 8 add-on which will give game developers the power to deploy new and existing games to Windows Phone 8.

Since unveiling Windows 8 at Build 2011 last year, we’ve talked a lot about our “no compromises” approach to Windows 8, and to illustrate the point, I had the opportunity today to demo the traditional desktop experience of AutoDesk’s AutoCAD app alongside SketchBook, the company’s immersive and touch-centric Windows Store app. It’s a great touch experience combined with a great, tried and true mouse-and-keyboard experience, and they come together in a real-world scenario that doesn’t require compromise. With Windows 8, developer creativity has no limits … you can create touch-first scenarios for when touch works best combined with a mouse-and-keyboard approach for when more traditional inputs are still the way to go.

Development across Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8

I touched on this earlier, but it bears repeating … the platform commonality and shared core between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 is very much a part of the opportunity. This is about enabling developers to quickly get from a great idea to a money-making app running on multiple devices, by reusing their skills and, in some cases, the actual code, all built using a common toolset in Visual Studio. The new Windows Phone 8 SDK enhances the platform opportunity with new developer features such as support for native code and in-app purchases. With users’ rising expectation of apps, games and experiences that span multiple devices and form factors, we’re giving developers the ability to use their existing knowledge, skills and code to reach hundreds of millions of Windows users.


The Build keynotes today and tomorrow are streamed, as are many of the more than 160 technical sessions throughout the week. All the content will be available on-demand as well, so I encourage you to tune in to learn more, and share the link with your friends.

Tomorrow, you’ll hear even more from us about the Windows opportunity when Server and Tools President Satya Nadella shares details on how to drive even richer Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 experiences with services in the cloud on Windows Azure. In the meantime, for more information, pay a visit the Build 2012 website at

Whether you are a seasoned code warrior, or just starting on your first app, there has truly never been a better time to be a developer, and the opportunity has never been bigger than it is today on Windows.

Editor’s Note: This post was updated with new information at 11 a.m. PT today.

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