"It's hard to see (Microsoft) compete with Android, BlackBerry and iOS (Apple), but ... I think if anyone could do it, Microsoft could do it," says Ryan Henry, Magmic's director of engineering, adding the firm is considering developing additional apps when Windows 8 is released later this year.
The size of the Windows market is the only negative he can see, he says, but he predicts it will only continue to grow - especially after Nokia announced last year that Windows Phone would be its primary smartphone operating system. Furthermore, the platform's development tools allow users to create apps in no time, he says.
"It's one of the easiest, if not the easiest, mobile platform to develop for right now."
He's not alone in this sentiment. Jeff Bacon - who worked with Magmic on its Rubik's Cube game and is now director of mobile strategy at local software developer bitHeads - says most developers with whom he's spoken found the Windows platform to be the easiest to work with.
The downfall is that Windows Phone 7.5, called "Mango," uses the C# (pronounced "see sharp") programming language, instead of Java or C++ like other major mobile platforms. Because of this, porting applications from Windows to other platforms is a lot of work, says Mr. Bacon.
On top of this, the market remains in the shadow of giants like Apple.
"So far, there have not been enough (Windows) devices sold to provide strong revenues for a lot of developers," Mr. Bacon says.
Local serial entrepreneur Rob Woodbridge agrees many developers are hesitant to spend time and resources on such a small market, but notes there are advantages to hopping on board right now.
"You get very few opportunities to be at the forefront of a market," he says. "I would say it's better to be a big fish in a pond like this than to swim anonymously through the other app stores."
This is an opportunity to be one of the very few, he says, in comparison to the millions of apps in other oversaturated markets.
"You can't look at this and think it'll be a bad opportunity," Mr. Woodbridge says.
Many local developers attended a code camp co-hosted by Wavefront and Microsoft late last month to learn how to port their apps onto the Windows platform, and to learn why it makes good business sense to do so.
A study released last year by market researchers Gartner and IDC forecasts that Windows will have the second-largest market share - 20 per cent - of smartphone operating systems by 2015, behind only Apple.
Microsoft regional director Colin Melia says that he has seen huge interest from developers, particularly students who can turn around a Windows app in just one weekend.
"The Windows ecosystem is like slow and steady wins the race," he says. "It'll be up there."
For some developers, though, the risk remains too great.
Openera Inc., a Kanata-based company that's developed an app to synchronize various cloud platforms, has no plans to build a Windows phone app, says founder Peter Lalonde.
"It has to make financial sense," he says. "To develop for Microsoft requires an investment. Are you going to recoup that investment?"
Mr. Lalonde adds that he feels there's still a prevailing notion that Microsoft isn't "cool" in comparison to trendy Apple or BlackBerry.
"I think well-funded companies might consider it, but anyone bootstrapping can't afford it," he says.
The same is true for Paul Dombowsky, who developed Heartache Apps to monitor heart health.
"To start, it didn't make sense to do anything other than iPhone given our budget," he says.
BlackBerry will come second, after which he'd be willing to consider Windows, he says.
But Mr. Woodbridge, a man who believes that mobile is the future, says developers would be foolish to ignore Windows.
"Microsoft is betting on this. They're putting resources behind it, and you can be carried by that wave," he says. "You've gone through the phases - iPhone, Android, BlackBerry - now it's Microsoft's turn."
• The rate of Windows phone use year-over-year has increased by 300 per cent
• An average of 300 games are posted each day globally
• On average, each Windows phone user downloads 10 new apps
• There are a total of 65,000 apps in Windows Phone Marketplace today
Source: Paul Laberge, Microsoft Canada developer adviser