The Microsoft application deficit
If Microsoft wants to reinvent itself for the mobile age, it will have to attract a new generation of developers.
At Microsoft's Build conference, which brought together more than 2,000 software developers in Redmond, Washington, was Atta Elayyan, co-founder of a New Zealand company called Lazyworm Apps. With sales of desktops and laptops declining as other companies achieve more success in mobile computing, Microsoft desperately needs to persuade software developers like Elayyan that it is worth writing code for its latest platforms.
Elayyan has built Metrotube, a sleek YouTube video app for Windows phones, as well as Tweetro, a highly praised Twitter app for Windows 8, Microsoft's touchscreen operating system, designed to bridge the gap between PCs and computers. mobile devices, such as tablets and phones. Elayyan looks forward to working harder on what Microsoft has lately called "modern-style" applications and is one of the most enthusiastic developers creating software for the new Windows platforms.
Microsoft is far behind in the mobile market and needs to attract all kinds of software developers if it wants to have any hope of catching up with Apple and Google, which lead the market for mobile operating systems with iOS and Android, respectively. The company has worked well with PC software makers for decades. But now that users are more interested in mobile apps than desktop software, its still nascent app ecosystem is one of the company's most glaring weaknesses.
One of the main problems could be convincing users and developers to accept another mobile platform and application ecosystem.
Microsoft's new store, called Windows StoreThe place to find new apps, it was presented on Friday with an offering of more than 9,000 applications worldwide, and this week it already has more than 10,000, according to analyst Wes Miller. About half of these applications are available in China or the US, the two countries with the most applications.
The games category is the largest of all, but some types of applications are still missing, such as a good RSS reader, or social applications such as Facebook and Quora, Miller notes.
At Friday's event, there was talk of "grand opening." However, details on the store's progress were scant and Microsoft has not provided its own figures.
The company, instead, was more specific in launching Windows Phone 8 on Monday. New phones that carry this software can also use applications created for earlier versions of the operating system.
In actuality there are 120,000 applications for Windows Phone Most of all, among them are 46 of the top 50 apps available in other app stores, as Joe Belfiore, director of Microsoft's Windows Phone Program, pointed out Monday. Still, the total is a long way from 700,000 from Google and Apple.
If consumers don't see the apps they use frequently, such as a specific game or app, they might not buy a Windows device.
Source: Technology Review
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