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By Michael Vizard

While it may not come as a surprise that Apple is extending its lead among developers of mobile computing applications, a new survey of those developers also finds support for Microsoft’s mobile computing platform showing some signs of momentum.

According to Michael King, principal mobile strategist for Appcelerator, a provider of tools for building mobile computing applications, a survey of 3,632 mobile computing developers conducted by IDC on behalf of Appcelerator finds that while the Google Android platform remains in solid number two, the fractious nature of that platform is starting to have an impact on developer support.

In fact, it may be hard to argue that Android is a platform at all because, unlike Apple or Microsoft, applications built for one Google Android platform do not automatically run on another. That means collectively Google Android support may appear strong, but in reality that support is split across multiple incompatible instances of Android.

Meanwhile, 44 percent of the developers surveyed said the Metro interface that Microsoft developed for its mobile computing platforms was not only beautiful, it included features not to be found in Apple iOS or Google Android. The survey also indicated there are still challenges when it comes to working with Metro, but it’s pretty clear that Android’s position as the number two mobile computing platform may not be all that secure given the divided nature of that platform. Of course, it would take several years to effect that change, but it seems clear that Microsoft can’t be discounted yet.

Meanwhile, King says there are also early signs that some organizations are starting to take a “mobile first” approach to application development given the growing popularity of mobile computing. In addition, the modular nature of those applications is starting to have an impact on backend enterprise applications as organizations begin to stitch together multiple mobile computing applications into a business process. As part of that effort, King says organizations are starting to think in terms of building a library of functions that developers can invoke across multiple mobile computing platforms.

While Apple currently dominates mobile computing, in the grand schemes of things mobile computing as a technology platform is still relatively young, which means it is still too early to say for certain what applications will dominate once mobile computing finally matures in the enterprise.

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