Windows Phone 7 apps: 'Quality over quantity,' Microsoft says

Redmond says its apps marketplace is growing rapidly--without inflating the stats with "lite apps" or double- and triple-counting for foreign language versions.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Microsoft is dishing on Windows Phone 7 apps.
Microsoft is dishing on Windows Phone 7 apps. CNET

Since the launch of Windows Phone 7 operating system last year, Microsoft has been trying to catch up to Apple and Google in the mobile-apps race. And the software giant took to its blog yesterday to share its progress.

Microsofts says that there are now 11,500 applications available in its Windows Marketplace store. Out of that, 7,500 applications are paid, while 1,110 apps are generating revenue through ads, thanks to the company's Microsoft Advertising Ad Control service. On average, Microsoft says, users are downloading 12 apps each month.

The size of Microsoft's mobile marketplace still pales in comparison to Apple's App Store. According to the Apple app page on the company's Web site, there are now over 350,000 available applications to its customers. In January, Apple announced that 10 billion apps had been downloaded from its store since its launch in 2008.

It's a similar story on the Android side. A Google spokesperson told CNET in an e-mail today that the Android Market has "more than 150,000 apps available in the Android Market."

Though that's still much lower than Apple's App Store, the Android Market might soon enough overtake Apple's option as the world's largest application marketplace. Earlier this year, Kevin Mahaffey, the CTO of mobile security firm, told CNET in an interview that given Android's growth, it should surpass the App Store by the middle of next year. Between August and February alone, the number of Android Market apps available to U.S. users alone increased by 127 percent, according to Lookout.

Microsoft isn't too concerned about the number of apps available in its marketplace. The company's Brandon Watson said in the blog post that for Microsoft, it's a matter of "quality over quantity." Its app tally does not include "lite apps," and it doesn't "double and triple count apps which are submitted in multiple languages."

More than anything, Watson said in his post, Microsoft is "dedicated to evolving the platform to enable more developers to create amazing apps; more possibilities, more functionality, more customers and more markets."

So far, there are 36,000 developers creating apps for Windows Phone 7. Out of all the registered developers, 40 percent have actually brought a program to Microsoft's mobile platform.

Market researcher IDC expects Microsoft's Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile operating systems to account for 5.5 percent of smartphone shipments this year, well behind Android, Apple's iOS, BlackBerry, and Symbian. But by 2015, IDC forecasts, Microsoft's share will jump to about 20 percent.