The first 12 months
In less than 2 weeks, Marker Metro will be 1 year old. For a year, we’ve been doing nothing but building Windows apps. For most of that time, we’ve been doing Windows Phone apps, but over the last few months we’ve worked hard on developing apps for Windows 8.
Right now, I’m at the Microsoft Build conference hosted right on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, with the keynotes delivered in a giant custom-made tent. All this to herald in the public launch of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, Microsoft’s latest operating systems which run across most personal computing devices.
The launch of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 is in many ways a transition point for us. We’ve been living and breathing the platform for a year, and we look forward to building great ‘8 apps’ over the coming months .
Before I head back home to New Zealand and to the day to day crazy fun that is running Marker Metro, I thought it was a good opportunity to stand back, to take a look at why we’re here, what we’ve done, and where we are headed as a company.
The ecosystem choice
Technology is changing such that our experience of the web is no longer a singular one. That is, one that is driven through that most powerful of native apps, the web browser. Our touchpoints with the web are evolving and multiplying to include rich, native, bespoke interfaces often enabled with touch, voice and soon perhaps thought itself.
We choose apps as well as websites, tailored, simple and tangible alongside the urls to which we reach out to via the intermediary of a web browser.
The market is moving, shifting to understand, interpret and deliver to these increasingly complex needs. Ultimately each player is aiming to ensure users invest in their content, their apps and their services, alongside pushing for time and transactions on their websites.
Interestingly, it turns out ecosystems breed a certain kind of loyalty.
Loyalty may be weak in the form of simply an investment protection or a wish not to duplicate costs with another ecosystem. Or, a user may actively and authentically prefer to invest their time and money in a particular ecosystem because of other reasons such as brand, perception or software/hardware quality.
From this mix has emerged an ecosystem battle, a fight for the hearts and minds of users who interact with the web from their phone to their television.
Windows ecosystem specialism
Marker Metro is a specialist company, which means we provide focus and dedication to a single ecosystem, Windows. Importantly, this is not a judgement, nor a denial of the importance, success and value of the other major ecosystems.
We are hugely passionate about the new design-led Windows, including now both software and hardware, and we offer expert advice and production skills around Windows apps.
Clients who are interested in having a presence in the Windows App Stores come to Marker Metro because we offer this specialism, a natural fit when you want to build a Windows app.
Where it all began
Before all of this crystalized I was a wistful app developer by evening and weekend, and a technical director at Marker Studio by day. After attending the Microsoft Mix 10 conference in Las Vegas, I was fired up enough to being writing a Windows Phone app called AlphaJax (www.alphajax.com) which I ended up selling to Microsoft Game Studios in 2011 (now there’s a long story cut short!).
Along the way, I gained experience with building some of the Windows Phone apps that are now a part of the Marker Metro portfolio and then in late 2011 the amount of work and the level of experience I had gained made me think “What if I could do what I loved every day and just build great Windows apps all the time?”. From that seed, Marker Metro was born.
Where are we now?
Marker Metro has a team of passionate designers, developers and user experience experts all focused now on building great Windows Phone and now of course Windows 8 apps. We are 10 strong right now, and we’re seeing increasingly high demand and interest for Windows apps.
Alongside strong partnerships with Nokia and Microsoft, we’re working with key clients who have come to us directly, forward thinking companies and organisations who can see the potential of the Windows stores and who are looking to gain first mover advantage.
This has been an unbelievable year. Marker Metro has seen an influx of talented people come and join together in our mission of building great Windows apps. We’re learning every day, getting better, aiming for the stars.
Marker Metro’s future is tied to a successful, thriving Windows ecosystem. We see ourselves continuing to offer original app building services, also helping with porting titles from other platforms. This will include cross platform application and game development and extending our strong capabilities in Windows UX and design and native application development in particular.
Whilst New Zealand will likely remain our HQ for some time, we are actively investigating opportunities for international expansion as it’s an aspiration to be well placed to offer on the ground support and services to our clients wherever they might be.
Oh, and stay tuned for some very cool news over the next couple of months. We’re building some very exciting Windows apps, and we hope to talk more about them soon.