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Microsoft and Nokia announce €18m apps development programme

AppCampus, based at Aalto University, will launch in May.

Microsoft Corporation and Nokia have announced that they will each invest up to €9m in a new mobile apps development programme at Aalto University in Finland over the next three years. AppCampus, launching in May, aims to foster the creation of innovative mobile applications for the Windows Phone ecosystem and Nokia platforms, including Symbian and Series 40. The programme will be led and managed by Aalto University.

Tuula Teeri, president of Aalto University, said: “We are pleased to host this initiative, which concretely boosts utilisation of new knowledge and skills in creation of new entrepreneurial ventures.”

Kai Oistamo, executive vice-president of Nokia, said: “The partnership will allow developers to ideate and monetise business opportunities globally, via both Windows Phone Marketplace and Nokia Store.”

At present, Android and Apple’s iOS dominate worldwide smartphone sales – Windows Phone has less than 5 per cent market share in the area. Last week, a statement from Rovio suggested that the company may not be developing a version of the app Angry Birds Space for the Windows Phone platform; though Rovio’s CEO put the report to rest, the incident was indicative of Microsoft’s – and Nokia’s – weak footing when it comes to apps. Analysts (including the TechCrunch website) view AppCampus as the companies’ attempt to address the situation.

Klaus Holse, president of Microsoft Western Europe, said: “We want to turn a new leaf in the mobile industry and foster Finland's role as a center of excellence for mobile technology. Such investment into early-stage concepts has rarely been seen in this sector, and this demonstrates how highly both Nokia and Microsoft value Finnish mobile expertise.”