A solid third-party app ecosystem is going to be absolutely critical to Windows Phone 7's commercial success -- and Microsoft clearly knows that, having spent nearly as much (if not more) energy talking to developers since the platform's announcement than it has directly to potential end users. In particular, one area where Microsoft really wants to play ball (pardon the pun) is with a rock-sold gaming experience -- and to that end, it seems Redmond isn't being shy about putting its money where its mouth is. The rumor going around today is that Microsoft is reaching out to developers of popular iPhone games, offering cash in exchange for a Windows Phone 7 port; you might think that most of these devs would be totally down with dropping their games on a hot new platform with revenue potential, but the challenge is that WP7's development environment is different enough from the iPhone's to make porting a pretty big challenge. The dev that allegedly contacted PocketGamer.biz about the offer turned it down, saying the financial compensation was "substantial" but ultimately not enough for the amount of work he'd have to put into it -- so this might just be a question of how badly Microsoft wants to come roaring out of the gate with a great catalog of apps. They've certainly got the cash to make this happen if they decide to up the ante.

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Microsoft luring iPhone game devs to Windows Phone 7 with cold, hard cash?