Why Microsoft Needs an App Store

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-12-16 Print this article Print


5. It maintains the software lead 

If Microsoft does, in fact, go ahead with a Windows app store, it can cement its operating system's position as the leading option in the market for those looking for a healthy supply of programs. There are countless programs available to Windows right now. But as Apple's App Store has shown, developers are ready and willing to bring their simpler programs to consumers. And they will do that in droves in the Mac App Store. Microsoft must maintain its software lead and not allow the Mac App Store to deliver a wider array of options than what it currently offers. That can only be accomplished with an app store of its own. 

6. The enterprise might benefit 

Much of the talk surrounding the Mac App Store revolves around consumers, since Apple's operating system is designed with that market in mind. But the enterprise could be Microsoft's ticket to capitalize on an app store of its own. After all, the corporate world is heavily invested in Windows. The last thing Microsoft should do is forget about that market segment if it delivers its own application store.

 7. Value, value, value 

As mentioned, there really is no way for Microsoft to lose its standing as the top operating system in the market for the foreseeable future. But that doesn't mean that the company shouldn't be thinking about the added value an application store could offer Windows. Microsoft simply can't coast and expect to be successful. It needs to keep thinking about adding value. And an app store would do that quite well. 

8. Trailing twice is never a good thing 

Microsoft's mobile apps marketplace is far behind both Apple's and Google's offerings in that space. And the last thing Microsoft should do is wait years to offer a Windows-based marketplace of its own. Granted, it's already behind. But if Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveils a Mac App Store alternative at CES in January, as some expect he might, the company will put itself on an even playing field with Apple. Waiting a year or two, however, would significantly damage Microsoft's ability to keep up. 

9. It could help Windows Phone 7 

If there's any single Microsoft product that needs some help right now, it's Windows Phone 7. The company's mobile platform is far behind the competition, and the chances of that changing anytime soon seem awfully slim. But with the help of a Windows-based app store, Microsoft might be able to gain more developer support and show that it fully understands the value of applications. That should only help its mobile platform.  

10. Future-proofing 

Whenever Apple makes a move in the tech space, the competition should be worried. Apple has a tendency to be the company that sets the pace for all future product development. That forces competitors to come along with it. By offering its own application marketplace, Microsoft can stand its ground and make it clear that just like Apple it's all about future-proofing itself. That will be an important component in the OS market going forward. 


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.

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