As Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform continues to turn the heads of consumers and tech journalists alike, its biggest uphill battle has been gaining support from app developers. Windows Phone has just 70,000 applications in its Windows Phone Marketplace, but there are more than 400,000 in Google Play (Android Market) and more than 600,000 in Apple’s iTunes App Store.

Several mainstream app studios have openly shied away from the metro-styled operating system to instead focus their efforts on the well established iOS and Android platforms. Where’s Draw Something or Words With Friends, for example? Not one to throw in the towel, Microsoft is taking an assertive stance on recruiting developers to build applications for its budding ecosystem. How? By paying for development costs.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that Microsoft is reportedly coughing up development costs for big-name apps, and prices range from $60,000 and $600,000 depending on the app. Microsoft’s tactics have already managed to sway Foursquare and Ben Huh of Cheezburger Network to bring applications to its platform. “We have very limited resources, and we have to put them toward the platforms with the biggest bang for our buck,” FourSquare’s head of business development Holger Luedorf told The New York Times. “But we are a social network and it is incredibly important for us to be available on every platform.”

The good news is that bigger organizations are starting to focus more and more on Windows Phone, even if it’s just a little bit. “We’re starting to get requests from firms that want a Windows Phone app,” Ben Lamm, owner of Creative Moon, the studio that built The Daily for News Corp. and several other big-name apps. “It’s still only 5 to 10 percent of our total requests, but very different than a year ago, when only Microsoft was calling us to do work.”

[via: The New York Times]