Redmond, we have a problem: Windows Phone ‘07 has no apps

“Windows Phone 7 goes on sale today, and Microsoft is holding its breath to see how its new, hyped-up smartphone software sells,” David Goldman reports for CNNMoney.

“Microsoft knows it has a difficult hill to climb against entrenched smartphone platforms like Research in Motion’s BlackBerry, the iPhone and Android,” Goldman reports. “But Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer believes it will ‘sell like crazy,’ arguing that Windows Phone 7 is refreshingly different and incorporates only the best aspects of its competition.”

MacDailyNews Take: Mr. Ballmer, you lie. As we explained to Android Tourettes sufferer, Walt Mossberg, on October 20, 2010: Exceedingly late Microsoft was forced to design around what their competitors aren’t doing due to not only concerns about infringing upon patented IP — Google seems to have conveniently ignored this not-so-minor issue; a slip-up for which they may someday pay dearly — for which, this time, no badly-written contracts signed by unprepared sugared water salesbozos exist, but also in a vain attempt to differentiate their offering. Why they think a Zune phone will sell when Zunes didn’t is as unexplainable as Kin or, for that matter, Ballmer himself (may he remain Microsoft CEO for as long as it takes).

The real reason why Windows Phone ’07 works the way it does: Microsoft is deliberately trying to de-emphasize apps, not because it’s a good idea that’s beneficial to the user, but because they have very few developers and therefore no apps upon which to focus. This is the way Microsoft works. Because they’re always late, always copying, they have to do things in certain ways to either skirt legalities (that’s why Windows is an upside-down and backwards Mac, not a pure Mac knockoff) or to avoid market realities (an unassailable everest of 300,000+ apps staring them in the face means they have to try to convince consumers that apps aren’t that important). In reality, however, apps drive smartphone sales. And, Microsoft has no apps. No crystal ball necessary.

As one insightful Microsoft insider told us recently, “The whole home-screen tiles idea is to cover for the fact that the app store is a bit on the empty side. So rather than the utility of iOS and Android allowing you to arrange your apps the way you like, WP7 lets you have any home screen color you like, as long as it’s green. WP7 is covering their empty platform with a big green tarp in hopes that you’ll focus more on the hardware choices than the software drawbacks.”

Goldman continues, “Except there’s a catch, and it has to do with Ballmer’s favorite subject: Developers (‘Developers, developers, developers!’) and apps… Having a marketplace that’s chock-full of apps has become an expectation of smartphone buyers… Microsoft’s app marketplace currently has more than 1,000 apps. But that’s paltry compared to the 100,000 on Google’s Android marketplace and 250,000 on Apple’s App Store.”

MacDailyNews Take: Do your homework, Mr. Goldman: “Apple has 300,000 apps on its App Store.” – Steve Jobs, October 18, 2010. Isn’t it interesting that almost all “mistakes” regarding figures and Apple shortchange the company? They rarely, if ever, err on the positive when it comes to Apple Inc. Believe us, we’ve slogged through more than enough articles to know.

Goldman continues, “To solve the chicken and egg conundrum, Microsoft plans on putting the full weight of its marketing muscle behind Windows Phone 7. ‘It’s going to be difficult to break through, but we’re going to pull all of the levers coordinating our marketing approach,’ said Greg Sullivan, Microsoft’s senior product manager for Windows Phone 7.”

MacDailyNews Take: Microsoft’s been there, failed at that: Microsoft to spend hundreds of millions, several years on Zune trying to catch Apple iPod+iTunes – July 27, 2006

Full article here.

44 Comments

  1. Yes, yes… Apple good, Microsoft bad.

    Still… I like the commercials.

    I also really like the T-Mobile commercial where the iPhone user looks like an idiot carrying the AT&T network on his back.

  2. I find it interesting that in the US the adverts they’re using show loads of people being distracted by phones, something which the windows phone is supposed to save us from. In the UK they use the same images but imply that the phones being used are windows phones because they’re so great. Same ad, totally opposite message. Seems just like Microsoft.

  3. With the unmitigated success of juggernaut twins iPhone and iPad, MSFT (along with Dell, Gateway, Sony, HP and other Windoze OS manufacturers) will dwindle, as did the elves who went into the East when came the Fourth Age and the Time of Men.

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  5. I am a very happy iPhone and iPad owner, and have enjoyed and used many apps from iTunes on both of them. That being said, I am beginning to tire of the “app count” tally stuff. While there may be 300,000 apps in the store, I venture that I have read the full description of less than 500 of them, and downloaded about fifty (most free). I am not a game player, so maybe that accounts for the low numbers.

    What I am trying to ask, at what point do the numbers become pretty much irrevelant (other than for bragging rights)? My thinking is that that number was passed a long time ago in iTunes. For instance, after 25 “To Do” apps, how much utility does the twenty-sixth add?

    While the lack of apps is certainly a serious problem for Microsoft, I think a few thousand “real” apps (not fart apps or ringtones, thank you) could make their product useful to a large segment of consumers. Notice I didn’t say best, but useful. My 2 cents.

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