10 Reasons Why Microsoft Released Windows Marketplace Too Early

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-10-07 Print this article Print

News Analysis: Microsoft's decision to release Windows Marketplace for Mobile might have been a mistake by the software giant. With so little to show for it, the app store looks like a lame competitor to Apple's App Store.

Now that Windows Mobile 6.5 is available, Microsoft has also released its Windows Marketplace for Mobile. The application store currently features about 250 applications. It's only available to Windows Mobile 6.5 owners, but Microsoft claims that Windows Mobile 6 legacy users will also be able to access applications in the store over the next few weeks.

But it all seems so premature. Granted, Microsoft felt that it needed to catch up to the rest of the market and get its app store out there, but did it have to do it this way? That's doubtful. And since Windows Mobile 7 is still on its way and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has already said that it will be the real contender Microsoft plans to bring to the market, maybe the company should have waited to launch its app store.

Here's why:

1. The apps aren't cool

Although Apple has done a fine job of attracting developers to its App Store, it has also done a fine job of getting really neat apps to customers. They have solid graphics. They perform a much-needed task for mobile users. I just don't see how Windows Mobile apps do the same.

2. The apps look outdated

Apple has done a lot of damage in the mobile-phone space. Rather than provide users with an experience that can be easily matched, the apps that currently run on the iPhone and iPod Touch make some apps on other platforms look obsolete. Nowhere is that more evident than in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile. Unfortunately, apps in that store just don't compare well to iPhone apps. They look outdated and strangely similar to old Windows Mobile apps.

3. Windows Mobile 6.5 is a bridge

Although Microsoft won't like to admit it, Windows Mobile 6.5 isn't meant to be an iPhone competitor. Quite the contrary, the software is designed specifically to bridge the gap between Windows Mobile 6 and Windows Mobile 7, the iPhone's real eventual competitor. That's not to say that Windows Mobile 6.5 can't compete against the iPhone, but since Windows Mobile 7 is the software that will have the best chance of challenging it, Microsoft should have waited to release its app store. 

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel