Why Apple is winning the mobile apps battle (plus, what Rob Glaser thinks of Windows Mobile)

“The profusion of online ‘app stores’ for mobile-phone software programs is a nightmare for developers trying to pick which platforms to target,” Jack Ewing reports for BusinessWeek.

“There’s no sign that the mobile industry is moving toward a single, dominant operating system as exists in the PC universe with Microsoft Windows,” Ewing reports. “Microsoft, a minor player in mobile operating systems with just 12% of the smartphone market, is making a renewed push in the wireless world as well. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a personal appearance in Barcelona to present a new version of Windows Mobile as well as plans for an online applications store.”

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, and it was so well received:
• Ten reasons why Windows Mobile 6.5 sucks – February 18, 2009
Thurrott: Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 6.5 too little, too late – February 17, 2009
ZDNet: Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 6.5 disappointing and unacceptable – February 16, 2009
NY Times: Microsoft’s new Windows Mobile 6.5 unimpressive, derivative – February 16, 2009
Microsoft too late to catch up in mobile? – February 11, 2009
MobileMe Too: Microsoft’s mobile cloud service to be called ‘My Phone’ – February 07, 2009
Windows Mobile: Time for Microsoft to knife the baby? – January 28, 2009

Ewing continues, “But others in the industry doubt whether Windows Mobile can compete with the Apple iPhone, which has proved popular with software developers, or the Symbian operating system used by Nokia, which now accounts for nearly half the smartphone market. ‘Windows Mobile could be the odd man out,’ says Rob Glaser, CEO of RealNetworks.

MacDailyNews Take: In-between doughnuts.

Ewing continues, “But for developers the competing systems force them to make difficult choices. They can write different versions of the same program for every operating system, which is time-consuming and expensive. Or they can target whichever operating systems they think will generate the most users—and forsake the rest.”

“One company that has confronted the problem is MySpace,” Ewing reports. “The decision to write the program for iPhones first was a ‘no-brainer,’ Chris DeWolfe, founder and CEO of MySpace says. While Apple’s share of the mobile OS market is only 12%, its users are well off and use their iPhones intensely for other purposes than just talking. Apple’s widely admired ‘app store,’ with thousands of programs that can be downloaded onto iPhones and the iPod Touch [sic], has helped make those devices more useful and boosted sales.”

Full article here.

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