Microsoft offering up to $100,000 for high profile Windows Phone 7 apps

microsoftmoneyWe knew Microsoft was willing to go all in with winning developers for Windows Phone 7, but I don’t think many could imagine how much Microsoft was really willing to spend.

PopCap, maker of Bejeweled, said Microsoft offered in the neighbourhood of $100,000 for a Popcap game for Windows phone 7.

PopCap  ultimately declined the money, not wanting to be tied into a contract with Microsoft, but still created a launch title called Bejeweled Live.

“Whenever you talk subsidy or royalty guarantees, there are strings attached,” Andrew Stein, PopCap’s director of mobile business development, said. “We weren’t sure we could meet the commitment but we already identified we wanted to be on there. If the platform succeeds, the dollars we were kicking around the table will be peanuts.”

One of about 50 high profile companies approached by Microsoft, Foursquare was another company courted by the software giant.

Foursquare’s vice president of mobile and partnership Holger Luedorf said Microsoft approached Foursquare in August, but that the company would normally only have produced an app when the installed base of Windows Phone 7 reached 10 million.  Microsoft offered to pay for the development of the app, which ended up taking about two months, and the development was outsourced to UK-based app design firm Fjord.

“Microsoft is a large partner with us and they’re putting a ton of emphasis behind Windows Phone 7,” Luedorf said. “It’s great to be part of that and reap the benefits of that early. There’s been a lot of press.”

One source, familiar with Microsoft’s developer outreach, told GigaOm Microsoft ended up building or funding most of the top apps on Windows Phone 7 including Facebook, Twitter, IMDb, Amazon and Yelp.

Microsoft also went out of its way to help developers creating apps for the OS.

“I would say that the support we got from Microsoft was comparable to what we get from RIM, who we’ve worked closely with,” said Jonathan Sasse, SVP of marketing at Slacker. “For iPhone and Android, you develop with the tools they provide and the environment they set up, but there’s not a lot of communications that goes on.”

However Microsoft primed the pump, even with only 2000 applications Microsoft has already garnered a respectable catalogue of apps, which is doing much to make the platform credible in the eyes of consumers and other developers, making all the million spent very much worthwhile.

Read more at GigaOm here.