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Microsoft courts developers, touts new Windows 8 apps at Build 2012

by David Needle

October 30 2012

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at Windows 8 launch event.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at Windows 8 launch event.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is really racking up those frequent flier miles. Ballmer has been criss-crossing the country promoting Microsoft’s latest software and hardware, culminating with the Build 2012 conference for developers that started today.

On Thursday, Microsoft rolled out its highly-anticipated Windows 8 software and Surface tablets (New York); Monday it was Windows Phone 8 (San Francisco) and today, at Microsoft’s Redmond, WA campus, the focus was on developers.

One of Microsoft’s main messages to developers at Build 2012 is “join the party.” The company is touting momentum in its Windows Store with the announcement that companies such as DropBox, Expedia, Fitbit, Hotels.com, SAP, and Twitter are all building Windows 8 apps to be distributed there.

In addition to those, during today’s Build keynote, Microsoft showed off a number of others, including apps from Disney, LEGO, PayPal, ESPN and Microsoft’s own Bing and Skype apps for Windows 8.

PayPal is offering a Windows 8 API that lets developers use the PayPal payment system within their Windows Store apps for what Microsoft says is “simple and secure commerce activities for the more than 100 million active PayPal users.”

TabTimes launched its own Windows 8 magazine app last week. 

In a blog post, Microsoft’s Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate VP and Chief Evangelist for Developer & Platform Evangelism, said the company has taken a “no compromises” approach to Windows 8.

To illustrate the point he demoed the traditional desktop version of AutoDesk’s AutoCAD app alongside SketchBook, the company’s more immersive and touch-centric Windows Store app.

“It’s a great touch experience combined with a great, tried and true mouse-and-keyboard experience, and they come together in a real-world scenario that doesn’t require compromise,” said Guggenheimer.

He said Windows 8 lets developers “create touch-first scenarios for when touch works best combined with a mouse-and-keyboard approach for when more traditional inputs are still the way to go.”

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