Microsoft recently decided to take a page straight out of Apple's play book when they created Windows Phone 7 Series by virtually starting from scratch. And to a large degree it worked, resulting in a fresh new interface that dazzles and leaves its past Windows Mobile in the dust.
Microsoft's latest and greatest has garnered lot of praise and excitement, leading many to believe that it will be a big success in the market place and, who knows, maybe if not exactly killing off the iPhone, then at least giving it a damn good run for its money?
Well, Windows Phone 7 Series may be exciting to a lot of people these days, but, apparently, not so much with developers! According to Wired magazine this is proving to be a big, big challenge for the world's biggest software company, who's colorful CEO, Steve Ballmer, is famous for his ranting and raving about, 'developers, 'developers, developers, developers.....'!
Wired illustrates how one CEO, Kai Yu of BeeJive, was pessimistic about his independent company developing apps for Windows Phone 7 Series devices. Years ago they wrote off writing apps for Window Mobile devices, concentrating on the iPhone and the Blackberry instead, because of various issues and problems associated with Microsoft's former mobile OS, and sadly he doesn't see anything in the new OS that changes his mind, and Wired quotes him as saying:
“I think it’s just royally fucked,”and,“That place is so big: The tools, the people, it’s all so fragmented…. What’s the advantage of having these hubs and cool-looking UI? In the end, I don’t know if that gives you anything.”
Of course, Wired also points out that not all developers share Mr. Yu's views, but nonetheless enough of them do that they go on to point out how one pro Microsoft site, MSMobiles, a site dedicated to Windows Mobile News, further goes on to lament that when compared to the 170,000 plus iPhone apps in the App Store, the Windows marketplace for mobiles now offers only some 333 apps! What's really discouraging is that they point out that they don't see any progress being made to correct that imbalance, and they even go on to list that there are now even fewer apps then was listed a few months back. They list the following number of apps available for Window mobile devices, that according to them are:
- Action games (40)
- Classic games (16)
- Board games (10)
- Card & Casino games (19)
- Education (7)
- Family & Kids (9)
- Music (1)
- Driving (1)
- Strategy (8)
- Simulation (3)
- Sports (18)
- Word & Puzzle (48)
- Entertainment (14)
- News & Weather (7)
- Productivity (10)
- Social Networks (8)
- Communication (4)
- Music & Video (7)
- Maps & Search (2)
- Travel (12)
- Business Center (13)
- Reference (14)
- Books (2)
- Tools (47)
For a company that loves to brag about 'developers, developers, developers....' this is indeed a remarkable turn of events. MSMobile even goes on further to state:
" ...... Windows Mobile app store aka Windows Marketplace for Mobile is a total failure and thanks God there is still side loading so apps can be purchased outside of Microsoft... but with Windows Phone 7 Series there will be no side loading and no native app development (i.e. source code can be easily stolen) so situation might be also bad app-wise."
As far as I see it, the biggest problem with the world's biggest software company's mobile strategy has been with its past arrogance, one directly leading it to it to a sense of apathy and a sense of false security, and one that has now lead to making it much harder for its future mobile OS to succeed. However, even depite Microsoft's past I wouldn't, on the other hand, exactly count them out of the game just yet.
So, in conclusion: is the Windows mobile app market place really a complete and total failure?
The answer: unfortunately, so far, is a resounding yes!
Again, and unfortunately, simply based on what MSMobile has already stated, I can't see how anyone could conclude otherwise. The bigger question now, however, is: can Microsoft turn things around with its Windows Phone 7 Series? The final answer, of course, will be up to Microsoft and what they do next, but, as far as I'm concerned, it may already be a case of too little, too late. Maybe Microsoft can and will turn things around, but somehow I doubt it. If they do, it won't come anytime soon, it won't come cheap, and it certainly won't come easy. However, I could be wrong on all counts.
And that's my 2 cents 4 this Monday, March 01, 2010
Chart via: MSMobiles