Many smaller developers are holding off until after the busy holiday season to see how Windows Phone 7 smartphones ship before they decide to build for the platform, said Sam Altman, CEO of Loopt, a mobile social mapping company in Mountain View, Calif.They're also waiting to see whether the Verizon iPhone, which is supposed to arrive early next year, will have an impact on Windows Phone 7 sales. "Many people are saying if a Verizon ( VZ) iPhone doesn't come out by January, they might buy a Windows Phone," Altman said. Apps' Critical Role in the Smartphone War Mobile applications are important differentiators for smartphones, which means that the willingness of developers to build for Windows Phone 7 could have a crucial role in the platform's success. "The apps, of course, have come to define a smartphone; it is essential to have great apps to succeed," said Al Hilwa, an analyst at IDC who covers application development software. Microsoft seems to understand this. The deep-pocketed software maker has devoted significant financial resources and tools to draw mobile developers in, although it won't say how much. "I don't think our phone platform will last very long unless we have the app momentum that we're seeing now," said Scott Kerfoot, Microsoft's Senior Director of Technology Evangelism, who works with mobile developers on the West Coast. "We're making sure we're doing everything we can to make it the easiest platform to build applications, and that people making applications can monetize. This is absolutely crucial to the platform."
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