Microsoft's Phone Marketplace Could Risk Apple Pitfalls
Microsoft is using its TechEd Conference in New Orleans to outline the developer policies for its Windows Phone Marketplace, which will tie heavily into its upcoming Windows Phone 7 operating system. While a Microsoft executive in a blog posting made nods to transparent and uniform policies surrounding app submission, Apple's recent controversies over applications in its own App Store suggests that Microsoft will need to tread carefully as it attempts to use developers' apps to increase its appeal in the smartphone space.Microsoft is outlining the policies for Windows Phone Marketplace at its TechEd Conference in New Orleans, hoping that third-party developers will be encouraged to build mobile applications for the platform when it debuts on a variety of devices later in 2010. Those policies include the inevitable bans on controversial content, similar to those enacted by Apple with its popular App Store, and which could cause Microsoft similar headaches if the controversy erupts over what constitutes an "appropriate" app. Windows Phone Marketplace will tie heavily into Windows Phone 7, the upcoming smartphone operating system that Microsoft is positioning as a total revamp of its mobile franchise. Over the past several quarters, Microsoft has been losing ground to fierce competitors in the space, including Google Android and the Apple iPhone; Windows Phone 7, which forgoes those rivals' "pages of mobile apps" user interface in favor of subject-specific "Hubs" that aggregate Web content and applications, is being designed to wrest back market share through a slick design and wide variety of functions.
But as Apple has proven with the iPhone, a vital component in a smartphone's success with businesses and consumers is its third-party apps. Apple's App Store is considered a key attractant for both users in need of ever-new games and applications, and developers seeking to sell those programs.