Microsoft aims to lure app developers with new rewards program

The App Builder Rewards program promises developers points that can be redeemed for a copy of Windows 8, Xbox games, and other items.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Microsoft has kicked off a new program designed to attract Windows 8 and Windows Phone app developers.

Dubbed App Builder Rewards, the new program rewards people with points for accomplishing certain tasks, such as creating apps, attending events, and publishing apps to the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store. In return, those points can be swapped for actual items, such as a licensed copy of Windows 8, a couple of Xbox games, or a Windows Store developer account.

For example, joining Microsoft's App Builder program scores you 1,000 points, while following Microsoft's Developer account on Twitter nets you 100 points. Getting a copy of Windows 8 Pro Upgrade will cost you 7,500 points, while Halo 4 for the Xbox 360 requires that you cough up 4,500 points.

The rewards program ties in with Microsoft's App Builder program. The App Builder Web site provides various tools and resources to help developers create apps for Windows 8 or Windows Phone. It also offers exclusive access to developer events, according to Microsoft.

Apps are key to the growth and success of a mobile platform, and Microsoft has adopted financial incentives as one way to bring developers on board.

In March, the company unveiled a program in which it promised developers $100 for each Windows 8 and/or Windows Phone 8 app they created. That "Keep the Cash Offer" expired on June 30. Microsoft has also helped fund the work of developers, according to some who spoke with ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley.

The problem with such incentives is that they may increase the quantity of apps, but not necessarily the quality. All app stores are plagued with a certain number of questionable or pointless apps. In the long run, it's not the number of apps but the value and appeal of those apps that will draw in more users.