"It's critical for us to get a critical mass of apps," said Keith Lorizio, VP of U.S. sales and marketing for Microsoft Advertising, in an interview with online tech channel Beet.TV. "We're expecting to aggressively pursue 100,000-plus apps over the first three months."
Windows 8 has already attracted apps from numerous major brands, including The Wall Street Journal, the BBC, and Amazon. But the Windows Store, the only, officially sanctioned source for Metro-style apps, currently has less than 3,000 apps. So Microsoft has a lot of work to do to meet Lorizio's projection.
[ Microsoft has a lot riding on Windows 8. Read 5 Reasons Windows 8 Could Save Microsoft's Bacon. ]
The exec said the company is working closely with publishers to boost the number of Windows 8 apps, and has committed significant cash to the program. "We know that we have to have a very healthy ecosystem of apps, and we're putting millions of dollars against the effort and working with publishers in order to get their apps live as quickly as possible," said Lorizio.
Lorizio was equally optimistic about Windows 8's sales prospects. He predicted that there will be 400 million computers, including desktops, laptops, and tablets, running the operating system by July 1 of next year.
Lorizio cited three factors he said will make Windows 8 "a guaranteed success." Microsoft's "massive distribution" network, the fact that Windows 8, with its Live Tiles interface, promises to deliver "the same experience across all devices within the Microsoft family. Not just across the PC, but across mobile, across Xbox, and across the phone."
And third, "we're going to have beautiful, relevant, useful apps," Lorizio said. He added that Microsoft's own Windows 8 apps would carry advertising integrated with content, and that the company will split revenue from those ads with the content providers. "All of our apps that appear on the home page--weather, news, sports--they're going to be executed by us, and we're going to have advertising integrated across each one of the apps," said Lorizio.
Microsoft could have a tough time living up to Lorizio's lofty projections. Research group IDC predicts that 165.9 million tablets will be sold in 2013, and that only 6% of those will be powered by Windows. The firm predicts that 60.7% of tablets sold next year will be Apple iPads, while 32.7% will be running Google's Android operating system.
IDC predicts 391.1 million new PCs will ship in 2013. "The U.S. market will remain depressed until Windows 8 products hit the shelves in the fourth quarter of 2012," said IDC analyst David Daoud.
Windows currently holds about 92% of the PC operating system market, not including tablets, according to the most recent data from Net Applications.