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Android Has Problems, But Microsoft Not in Position To Exploit Them

A survey of 2,700 Appcelerator users released today shows that mobile developer momentum is shifting back toward Apple as multiple levels of fragmentation frustrate developers who had been enthusiastic about the Google Android platform.

While Microsoft Windows Phone 7 passed the RIM BlackBerry platform for third place in developer interest in the Q2 survey conducted jointly by Appcelerator and IDC, it was a pyrrhic victory as interest in both platforms was dropping.

For Apple iOS, however, 91 percent of developers were very interested in developing for iPhone and 86 percent were very interested in developing for iPad.

Interest among developers in Google's Android phones compared to Q1 fell two points to 85 percent and in Android tablets fell three points to 71 percent after a 12-point gain in Q1. (Interest in actual Android-based tablets, as opposed to theoretical Android tablets, is much lower, with the Samsung Galaxy Tab leading at 52 percent.)

Microsoft dropped seven points compared to Q1 with 29 percent of developers saying they're very interested in developing for Windows Phone 7.

BlackBerry phones dropped 11 points and now only 27 percent of developers are very interested in developing for RIM devices.

"Android remains an exceptionally strong OS but the cumulative effect of unresolved issues with the Android ecosystem is taking a toll on developers," said IDC analyst Scott Ellison in a statement. "The challenge for Google will be to better align app developer momentum with the momentum of Android device shipment numbers, and therein lies a competitive opportunity for Microsoft, Nokia and RIM."

Taking advantage of those problems will be tough, Ellison argued. Some 62 percent of respondents said it would be impossible for anyone to catch up to Apple and Google. One of the biggest reasons: 46 percent of respondents said they have their hands full developing for iOS and/or Android.

Nonetheless, the IDC/Appcelerator survey attributed part of Microsoft's smaller interest share drop compared to BlackBerry to its partnership announcement with Nokia. A key to Microsoft's chances of success would be providing tools for painless app migrations from iOS and Android to Windows Phone 7, according to IDC.

The full survey is available here.

Posted by Scott Bekker on April 26, 2011 at 11:58 AM