Microsoft Launches AppStore competitor

By admin, July 17, 2008 3:15 pm

Apparently spurred on by the sudden burst of press surrounding Apple's new iPhone AppStore, which provides easy one-stop shopping for all third-party applications for the trendy mobile phone, Microsoft has rolled out a rushed looking version to showcase applications for Windows mobile phones.

Windows Mobile Applications have long been listed in a catalog on Microsoft's site for easy reference, and available directly from third party vendors without any sort of the restrictions that Apple has placed on iPhone applications. The new site (which currently appears to be isolated to the company's European/Middle East section) seems to be almost entirely designed to compete based on appearance rather than substance.

The site is drawing fire for having a lot of sizzle and flash but not much practical utility. It certainly looks as if it were cobbled together hastily, and one can imagine someone in the chain of command over there watching, in a rising panic, the positive response to AppStore and frantically summoning a subordinate to order them, "We need one of these! I want something like this up next week! And make it look like Apple! Snazzy, you know? But for the love of god, use proprietary Microsoft technologies!"

It's bad enough with Silverlight, Microsoft's Flash competitor, installed; without it, the site doesn't even look like it's been released yet, with "Lorum ipsem…" still hanging around in places and mock up notes ("Application name: Some extra info about the application to appear aftet [sic] a two second hover over the screen shot - up to thirty words long, ie about this long.") in place of production text… everything smacks of a rush job. Considering the maturity of the Windows Mobile platform, this is really just silly; Microsoft again looks desperate and grasping when a few more polished PR moves could have pointed out the vast disparity in support and applications available between the two platforms.

Amateur night at the website or not, it's a fair bet that most enterprises will continue with Windows Mobile or Blackberry and resist with all their might the various entreaties to support or standardize on iPhones, but Microsoft isn't doing much to support itself in a market that is theirs to lose at the moment.

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