"Apple has changed the way the game is played," Loke Uei, senior technical product manager for mobile developer experience at Microsoft said at the company’s first Windows Mobile Developers Camp (WinMoDevCamp) yesterday.

His comments came during the developer meeting at which Redmond hopes to inspire/attract application developers to its platform. Attendees also got to see a preview of Windows Mobile at the event.

The company hopes to take on Apple when it launches its Marketplace for Mobile later this year, essentially a Microsoft version of the App Store. However, Apple has the lead in this, offering over 65,000 Apps already and furnishing 1.5 billion downloads since launch. Apple also has 100,000 developers signed up for the platform.

Microsoft’s clearly playing catch-up: “The first WinMoDevCamp event drew approximately 40 to 50 developers – and only a handful of those said they have developed and sold mobile applications previously,” reports InternetNews.com.

As reported, Microsoft attempted to woo the few developers present at the event, and will offer similar events worldwide as it attempts to drum up support for Windows Mobile.

Microsoft is also attempting to tempt developers with the promise of cash: "The business opportunity is the ability to target more than 30 million devices globally today," Uei said, and clearly with the App Store in mind, he added, “Ninety-nine cents is interesting, but I think your work is worth more than that – $5.99 or $9.99.”

Which sounds great – but it doesn’t matter what a Microsoft man who is trying to bring developers on side thinks about price, it’s what Windows Mobile users are willing to pay, and about how immersive and pleasant an experience Microsoft manages to make on mobiles.

Despite the obstacles to truly grabbing a slice of the market that’s currently dominated by Apple, RIM and Palm, Microsoft has managed to sign-up some, chiefly corporate, developers: AccuWeather.com, the Associated Press, CNBC, Developer One Mobile Software, EA Mobile, Facebook, Gameloft, MySpace, Netflix, Pandora, Sling Media, and Zagat Survey, have all signed up to offer Apps.

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