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Microsoft Recruits College Students To Crank Out Win 8 Apps

By - Source: BusinessWeek | B 47 comments

Microsoft is tapping into the college scene to help fill the Windows Store with Windows 8 apps.

BusinessWeek has an interesting article about NERD, or rather, Microsoft's New England Research & Development Center. This branch of the Redmond company has recruited college students to write apps that will help fill the Windows Store prior to Windows 8's launch. However this summer's batch of 21 interns only managed to crank out five apps, three of which are already available and two that are on the way.

“Microsoft is definitely playing catch-up with respect to the global app marketplace,” said David Hilal, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets, in an interview. “Their challenge is a chicken-and-egg problem. They need to get more users for their apps to entice developers, but they need better apps to attract more users.”

Currently there's a significant number of apps on the Windows Store – there are even apps for Tom's Hardware and Tom's Guide – but their number pales in comparison to Apple's App Store and Google Play. Even more, Microsoft is pushing to offer apps for two platforms: the ARM-based Windows RT and the x86/x64-based Windows 8 Pro.

"The apps ecosystem is probably the single most important factor in a customer’s experience," said Al Hilwa, an analyst at market researcher IDC. "It dictates what books you read, what music you listen to, what movies you see, what social activities you take part in. Problem is, you can’t have half a million apps overnight."

Microsoft reportedly recruited interns last year to write prototype apps for the Windows 8 preview. They generated six apps which in turn generated enough interest among computer science students for Microsoft to make the pilot program a permanent thing.

As for the actual apps, Catch It is a commuter-transit app slated to launch later this month. There's also Trackage which allows users to track packages shipped by FedEx, UPS, the U.S. Post Office and LaserShip, and an alarm clock called Never Late. Inkarus is a physics-based game featuring a chubby penguin who must collect components for a flying machine, and FaceReel uses facial recognition to generate videos out of a set of images.

Ultimately NERD aims to create a devoted group of Windows 8 "converts" who will spread good cheer throughout all the land of computer science majors and design students, convincing them to develop Windows 8 apps too.

"Because Windows 8 is pre-release, it’s been so exciting to get my hands on it before other people have been able to," said Emily Lin, a media arts and sciences major at Wellesley College, who served as the designer on the Catch It team. "When I tell my friends, they say, 'That’s so cool that you are getting to develop on Windows 8.'"

To read the full article, head here.

 

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Top Comments
  • 19 Hide
    coder543 , September 24, 2012 1:03 AM
    a chubby penguin? I'm confused... they can't be making a Linux reference, are they?
  • 18 Hide
    aicom , September 24, 2012 1:16 AM
    spentshellsunpolished software from thee likes of college kids who have skill but no experience.

    At least it's better than business students with no skills or experience writing apps ;) 
  • 13 Hide
    spentshells , September 24, 2012 1:09 AM
    unpolished software from thee likes of college kids who have skill but no experience. That is the plan to compete with apple ? Windows 8 is going to be a malware Slut......
Other Comments
  • 19 Hide
    coder543 , September 24, 2012 1:03 AM
    a chubby penguin? I'm confused... they can't be making a Linux reference, are they?
  • -7 Hide
    pjmelect , September 24, 2012 1:06 AM
    Windows r8pe will fail.
  • -3 Hide
    DroKing , September 24, 2012 1:09 AM
    Just give up Microsoft because Windows 8 is pure trash.
  • 13 Hide
    spentshells , September 24, 2012 1:09 AM
    unpolished software from thee likes of college kids who have skill but no experience. That is the plan to compete with apple ? Windows 8 is going to be a malware Slut......
  • 18 Hide
    aicom , September 24, 2012 1:16 AM
    spentshellsunpolished software from thee likes of college kids who have skill but no experience.

    At least it's better than business students with no skills or experience writing apps ;) 
  • 5 Hide
    edogawa , September 24, 2012 1:57 AM
    DroKingJust give up Microsoft because Windows 8 is pure trash.


    Pure trash? No. Metro does not equate to an entire OS becoming pure trash. That would be like saying Linux is pure trash because it does not have the compatibility and support that Windows does.

    Windows 8 is infact great, but the UI is drastically changed which is the only real negative; you can always use WinStart to restore the old start menu(while retaining the ability to use Metro if desired).
  • 4 Hide
    boiler1990 , September 24, 2012 2:24 AM
    This sort of program is actually a great idea. I went to school with a lot of electrical engineers with tons of programming experience (pretty necessary for the degree), and they all had great app ideas that they wanted to develop. A few of them actually are working for MSFT now.
  • 0 Hide
    jintonic , September 24, 2012 2:29 AM
    I go to college for C #. Problem is, Microsoft never came to my school to invite me or anyone I know to help out on this.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 24, 2012 2:38 AM
    Downloaded Visual studio Express for windows desktop, OMG flat monotone POS, Full of bugs, I guess microsoft wants us to debug their crappy code for them, RTM my A$$. Windows MixUP IDE it what they should call it, beacuse microsoft changes the GUI so often! When microsoft says release to market, I will forever think FDT, flush down toilet! Took a while to uninstall too, as 21 other software items where installed to support it! Microsoft, your one size fits all marketing will be your downfall!
  • 4 Hide
    Benihana , September 24, 2012 4:36 AM
    They're really trying so hard lol. For every 1 recruit they get for this NERD program, there's probably 10 Apple "Geeks" and 100 Googlers writing code for their preferred platforms.
  • 1 Hide
    nightbird321 , September 24, 2012 5:39 AM
    Well, Microsoft has money and want apps, and college students have time and want money/experience. Why not?
  • 9 Hide
    bigdragon , September 24, 2012 6:00 AM
    Why do I need an app for Toms Hardware, Ebay, or Disney? What's wrong with using a web browser? I just don't get it. I don't see why everything needs to be an app or have an app. I completely understand things like game, calculator, or calendar apps though.
  • 5 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 24, 2012 7:05 AM
    MS doesn't need half a million Apps running at launch, x86/x64 Windows already has 6 million+ programs and that buries the Google Play or App Store
    ...
    I am sick of this obsession with apps - they are programs, deal with it
  • 4 Hide
    Koolg , September 24, 2012 8:06 AM
    Google and Apple has over 600K apps, right??? Has any of you donkeys ever given a thought how many of those apps does the same thing? you will have 100s of apps just to light the led of your phone... And also among you, how many Donkeys has ever installed more than a 100 apps on your phones? By the way am not a windows fanboy, I got an s3 and I happy with it....
  • -5 Hide
    digiex , September 24, 2012 8:26 AM
    They want to catch the next Zuckerberg.
  • -5 Hide
    molo9000 , September 24, 2012 8:31 AM
    back_by_demandMS doesn't need half a million Apps running at launch, x86/x64 Windows already has 6 million+ programs and that buries the Google Play or App Store...I am sick of this obsession with apps - they are programs, deal with it

    None of those are designed for small touchscreens and none of them even run on ARM based windows tablets.

    Microsft desperately needs "apps" if they want to get into that market.
  • 2 Hide
    camel82 , September 24, 2012 9:55 AM
    Oh, let me say how excited I'm to see coming out applications that
    - will be designed to run full screen, one at time, stealing all the focus like in the '80s and like all the full screen software I hated in the last 30 years
    - will be thought for a 5" touch rather than for my 23" non touch monitor (I'm not Mr Fantastic)
    - that will communicate with other apps through a new proprietary API that has not sustained a bit of analysis in the wild yet rather than the all the way applications used to communicate since the beginning of the time
    - that will treat me like a minus habens hiding me the filesystem
    - that will be distributed only after authorization of the monopolist, and best applications can be removed if they do things bad to M$ - p2p, competition to their software, search/ads/social other than Bing/MSN or whatever they will courteously like to authorize.

    Let me say how excited I'm to enter Bob 2.0 era
  • 11 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , September 24, 2012 10:17 AM
    I have two ideas for apps for Windows 8:

    1. Bypass the blocky interface and boot to Desktop
    2. Add the Start Button.

    :::rolls eyes:::
  • 3 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 24, 2012 11:47 AM
    molo9000None of those are designed for small touchscreens and none of them even run on ARM based windows tablets.Microsft desperately needs "apps" if they want to get into that market.

    Not designed for does not mean they don't work at all, they don't "need" them to get up and running, if you needed a perfect system right from the launch day then Apple wouldn't have pushed out it's turd of a Maps program
  • 2 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 24, 2012 11:51 AM
    camel82that will be distributed only after authorization of the monopolist, and best applications can be removed if they do things bad to M$ - p2p, competition to their software, search/ads/social other than Bing/MSN or whatever they will courteously like to authorize.Let me say how excited I'm to enter Bob 2.0 era

    This will only happen if x86/x64 compatability is removed - which it isn't and likely never will be - the market will dictate which platform dies and which survives and the RT vs Win8 Pro will go the way of Win8 Pro, so you can stop having a heart attack
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