Windows Phone 7 Marketplace app count bests BlackBerry?

If you don't count themes or e-books, Windows Phone 7 has bypassed RIM's BlackBerry App World catalog in its number of apps.

Jessica Dolcourt Senior Director, Commerce & Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
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Windows Phone 7 Marketplace
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Microsoft announced today during a news event tied to a forthcoming Windows Phone 7 update that its Windows Phone Marketplace holds 18,000 apps.

While that's peanuts compared to Android Market's 200,000 apps and the iPhone App Store's estimated 500,000 titles, it appears that Windows Phone 7 may actually have a similar or larger haul than BlackBerry App World, depending on how you count.

RIM's online market hosts about 25,000 items, which is 7,000 more than the Marketplace. If we split hairs, 7,500 of those titles are visual themes and another 9,000 of them are e-books. Compare this to about 500 e-books (and no themes) for the Windows Phone (e-book number provided by Microsoft) and you've got arguably more traditional applications on the 7-month-old Marketplace.

There are a lot of caveats, however, like whether themes should and do truly count as apps, where e-books fit in, and if it really matters. In total, BlackBerry's App World certainly has the greater number of items at this time, but that matters less when BlackBerry and Microsoft are both fighting it out to stay alive in an Android- and iPhone-dominated world.

While the quality of apps should count as much as the quantity--how many farting and lighter apps does one platform really need?--the fact of the matter is that consumers factor apps into their decisions when purchasing a smartphone. Microsoft's Greg Sullivan, senior product manager of Windows Phone, said as much to CNET during a demo last week, and that confirmation helped fuel Microsoft's future update to integrate apps into Hubs.

Windows Phone Marketplace does take the cake by one measure. It is the fastest-growing app store, according to Netherlands-based analysts Distimo (reported here). Still, the question remains if Microsoft can transform its growth spurt into volume, if it will be able to attract enough corporate and independent developers to make enough of a dent in consumers' attention to start selling its phones en masse.

How important is an app store's show of force to you? Share with us in the comments.