Microsoft's Chicken and Egg Problem

Who says money talks? Greenbacks have apparently gone mute in their service to Nokia (NYS: NOK) and Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) . Widely reported efforts to pay developers to create software for the forthcoming Windows 7.5 mobile operating system -- or "Mango," as it's called -- don't appear to be having the desired effect.

The New York Times reports that software creators are waiting to see how well new Windows phone handsets sell before taking coding time away from iOS and Android. The CEO of app developer Bump Technologies told The Times that his company gets more users in a day from iOS and Android than "Windows devices are sold in a week."

Ouch, but also probably fair.

The two leading U.S. smartphone operating systems have generated headlines and profits for Apple (NAS: AAPL) , Google (NAS: GOOG) , and developers alike even as they've put pressure on Nokia and Research In Motion (NAS: RIMM) , among others.

Nokia, in particular, has had a rough year. Last quarter's big growth driver was feature phones, dumb handsets that can't realistically compete with smart alternatives from Apple, Motorola Mobility (NYS: MMI) and HTC -- especially as prices come down.

Partnering with Microsoft to sell smartphones in China alleviates this risk somewhat, but how many other regions offer as much opportunity? A growing numbers of users worldwide are adopting iPhones and Android handsets, leaving little room for new Mango-flavored gear when it becomes available.

It's sad in a way. Give Mango a look. The system's tile metaphor is far more flexible than the apps motif you'll find on an iPhone. Navigation also emphasizes people over software. Thus, you find your friend and then open her Twitter feed, rather than open Twitter and find your friend.

Reviewers appreciate the inventiveness. If only developers were as grateful.

Now it's your turn at the podium. Do you believe Mango will be a success? Please weigh in using the comments box below. You can also keep tabs on the mobile movement by adding these stocks to your Foolish watchlist:

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of theMotley Fool Rule Breakersstock-picking team. He owned shares of Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft, Google, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, Apple, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple and a bull call spread position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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