Struggling to win customers, Microsoft tries harder to woo developers

The Verge reports today that Microsoft has launched a developer tool that enables anyone to build a Windows Phone app without having to learn code. Windows Phone App Studio uses online templates that allow users to drag and drop text and other content to create apps, then test them by side-loading them to a registered phone.
Users will still have to pay the annual Windows Phone registration fee to gain placement in the Windows Phone Store, but that fee has been slashed to $19 for a few more weeks. And Microsoft has added a feature that enables developers to chat live with support reps.
Even with all the new incentives, though, Microsoft faces a huge challenge in building the mobile developer support it so desperately needs. Kantar recently reported that Windows Phone now claims only only 4 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, up a paltry 1.1 percent over the last year. Until it grows that audience substantially, Microsoft will continue to struggle to close the Windows Phone app gap. But in a classic chicken-and-the-egg dilemma, it will have trouble building that audience without more apps.