Ina Fried

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Having Shifted to Windows Phone, Nokia Wants Developers to Do the Same

With Nokia getting its first Windows Phone devices out the door, it is now shifting some of its attention back to wooing the developers it will need to make the move pay off.

To help make that case, the company has hired Richard Kerris, a veteran developer relations executive who has led efforts at Apple and, most recently, for HP’s WebOS. The company is also aiming to get Nokia devices into the hands of as many developers as possible, announcing last week that it will give out 25,000 devices in the coming months.

The biggest challenge, for both Nokia and Microsoft, is convincing developers that they need to bother developing for more than just Android and iOS.

“They are looking at two rather successful platforms in terms of the numbers and so forth,” Kerris said. “The challenge will be to show them … the opportunity.”

Nokia faces a particular challenge in North America, where it has been all but absent for many years and where the company’s Windows Phone products are still not yet available.

In an interview, Kerris and his boss, Marco Argenti, talked with AllThingsD about the challenges and opportunities facing the Finnish phone giant.

One of the ideas that the pair are kicking around are ways to offer developers help in building their business — not just their code.

“A lot of one- or two-man shops, they may know how to write an app but they may not know how to get their businesses off the ground,” Kerris said.

Kerris said it is all part of convincing developers that Nokia has something unique to offer them.

“It’s not just about great technology,” he said. “That’s one piece of it. If you don’t have all of the other pieces figured out you are not giving them the full opportunity.”

Kerris said that Nokia wants the big developers, for sure, but also has its sights set on emerging application creators.

“You want to definitely have them but the real opportunity is going to come from the next generation of developers,” he said.

While much of the outside attention is on Windows Phone, Argenti and Kerris stressed that the company also has a case to be made for developers to create new apps for Nokia’s existing platforms.

“There’s actually still quite a bit of an opportunity for developing on the non-Windows Nokia architectures,” Argenti said.


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— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google