Microsoft Hopes Free WiFi Will Persuade Developers

Google has been a steady sponsor of free WiFi in airports and subway stations for some years now but Microsoft has decided such sponsorships make sense for them as well. Specifically, the company is paying Boingo for the privilege of supplying free wireless access in parts of San Francisco and Manhattan.

The reason for the generosity has to do with Redmond celebrating Windows 8 and looking forward to introducing the new Windows Store for Windows 8 to the app builder community.

“At Microsoft, we know that amazing apps are being built in New York and San Francisco, and we want to give talented developers the chance to launch their businesses through the Windows Store,” said John Richards, Senior Director at Microsoft Corp. “We hope our Boingo Wi-Fi sponsorship will introduce the Windows 8 opportunity to app builders in NYC and San Francisco, while providing folks with Wi-Fi connectivity on-the-go.”

For many years, Microsoft has virtually had a lock on the developer community because their platform was the largest and growing the most quickly. In the last few years however Apple and Google have stolen the spotlight and more importantly, the concept of the post-PC era is being touted more and more by companies like Apple, Salesforce and a host of financial and technology analysts.

In short, Microsoft is fighting this battle as an underdog.

Having said that, it is worth noting both Apple and Google have recently surpassed Microsoft in terms of size as measured by market capitalization. Microsoft did recapture the title recently however. As of this writing, here is the standing of each company with Oracle, Amazon, Cisco and HP here for comparison purposes.


Market Cap

















The app ecosystem has always been an important part of a given platform’s success but you could argue with Amazon subsidizing its tablets to some degree because they can count on ancillary revenue from Amazon Prime, that the ecosystem is more important than ever.

This move by Microsoft makes sense but one wonders how many developers will choose development platforms based on the company providing the free WiFi in their neighborhood.

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