Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider
Everyone is talking about Microsoft’s new Windows Phone milestone today.It’s a big one: The company announced it published a whopping 75,000 new apps for its mobile operating system.
In fact, if I remember correctly, I don’t think Windows Phone had 75,000 apps in total when 2012 started.
Here’s Microsoft’s Todd Brix:
Confidence is built by testing and certifying every app and game to help protect customers from malware and viruses. Over the last year we’ve certified and published over 75,000 new apps and games (more than doubling the catalogue size) and over 300,000 app updates. In addition, this year we added the capability for customers to tell us if they have a concern about an app.
Very good. It sounds like Microsoft has the manpower to handle a large influx of developer submissions.
But here’s the problem: It doesn’t matter how big an operating system’s app library is. That never mattered. “App selection” isn’t about the number of apps available, it’s about having the apps people want to use. And Microsoft still can’t promise that its Windows Phone users will get the latest and greatest apps with the best features first.
Take a look at the Windows Phone Marketplace today. There’s no Pandora (but supposedly it’s coming soon). No Dropbox. No Instagram. Even the Facebook app isn’t made by Facebook; it’s made by Microsoft, so it’s missing a lot of the latest features Android and iPhone users enjoy. Then there are apps like Twitter that feel like they haven’t been updated in eons, while their Android and iOS counterparts get all the glory.
Now look at the hot new apps that launched this year: Clear. Snapchat. Brewster. Fantastical. All of those apps launched on iPhone first. Some got Android versions shortly after. None are found on Windows Phone.
I talk to app developers all the time and almost all of them tell me the same story. They prefer to make apps for iPhone and Android first because that’s where the users are. They don’t have anything against Windows Phone, but it’s not worth the time and money investment to develop for a platform that has next to no market share.
I like Windows Phone. I think it’s a great operating system with massive potential. But it’s going to be really hard to convince people to switch to a new platform if they know they’re not going to get the best apps.