Microsoft Must Build a Mac App Store Competitor: 10 Reasons Why

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-12-16

Microsoft Must Build a Mac App Store Competitor: 10 Reasons Why

Even though Apple is planning on launching its Mac App Store to 90 countries on Jan. 6, some of the attention in the OS space must now turn to Microsoft. The venerable software company has millions of customers around the globe using Windows. That makes it seem like the perfect fit and time to deliver a Mac App Store alternative to users.  

Speculation abounds that Microsoft might offer a Windows-based app store of its own. But so far, Apple has been leading the charge, recognizing the revenue and growth potential afforded by its App Store. For its part, Microsoft seemingly hasn't been concerned about the updates Apple plans to make to Mac OS X. 

But that might be a mistake. Microsoft won't lose control over the operating system market, but if the Mac App Store works as well as Apple's mobile alternative, the software giant might have no other choice but to respond with something of its own. It would be the smart move. 

Read on to find out why Microsoft should offer a Mac App Store competitor sooner rather than later.

1. The Mac App Store makes sense 

First and foremost, it's important for Microsoft to realize that the Mac App Store makes a lot of sense. It not only will deliver more software options for consumers, but it should offer them an experience that they've shown to enjoy in the mobile market. Beyond that, it could be a key revenue driver for Apple going forward. Microsoft can't let that slip away by turning its back on an app store of its own. 

2. It can steal some developers away 

If nothing else, Apple has been able to attract a growing number of developers to its products. And they have spent the lion's share of their time creating programs for the company's smartphone and tablet. By offering an app marketplace of its own, Microsoft could potentially bring some of those developers back to its platform to create programs for Microsoft's operating system. 

3. It would hurt Apple's offering 

Apple might be first to the market with an app store, but that doesn't mean that Microsoft can't hurt the Mac maker's option if it comes up with a marketplace of its own. After all, Microsoft currently has millions of Windows customers around the globe, and far more users than Apple has. The impact a Windows alternative would have could be huge, compared to that of Apple's marketplace. 

4. It's unexpected from Microsoft 

Let's face it: Microsoft isn't the most forward-thinking company any longer. For years, it was on the edge of innovation, but now it seems that it's waiting for other companies, including Apple and Google, to innovate first. It's an issue. But if Microsoft can come up with a Windows app store of its own, it might just prove that it really does know what the future will look like. 

Why Microsoft Needs an App Store


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. 


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