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4/1/2011
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Microsoft Says Apple, Google 'Inflate' App Numbers

Software maker says Windows Phone 7 now has more than 11,000 applications and that rivals' figures are bogus.

Microsoft said it's making big strides establishing Windows Phone 7 as a viable alternative to Apple's iPhone and Google Android-powered devices, and accused its rivals of inflating the number of applications available for their platforms by including questionable items in their tallies.

"What is an app? It's a question that really begs some scrutinizing," said Brandon Watson, Microsoft's Windows Phone director, in a blog post Thursday.

"For us, from the beginning, we have always been focused on quality over quantity. We recognize the importance of getting great apps on our platform and not artificially inflating the number of actual apps available to customers by listing 'wallpapers' as a category, or perhaps allowing a competitor's apps to run on the platform to increase 'tonnage,'" wrote Watson, a possible reference to the fact that RIM's PlayBook, set to launch April 19, will run Android apps.

Watson said there are now 11,500 apps available for Windows Phone 7. The number pales in comparison to the 350,000 apps claimed by Apple, and even Google's comparatively new Android mobile OS counts about 30,000.

But Watson said those numbers are misleading for a number of reasons.

"We also don't believe in the practice of counting 'lite' apps as unique quality content. In reality they only exist because developers can't have a trial API and must therefore do extra work. Finally, we don't double and triple count apps which are submitted in multiple languages," said Watson.

Watson revealed other numbers that he said show Windows Phone 7's progress. He said development tools for the platform have been downloaded 1.5 million times, that there are 36,000 registered developers, with 1,200 new developer registrations per week, and that Windows Phone 7 users download, on average, 12 apps per month.

What Watson did not reveal was recent sales number for Windows Phone 7 devices. To date, Microsoft has said only that 2 million Windows Phone 7 units, from manufacturers HTC, Dell, LG, and Samsung, were shipped to retailers as of January. The company has not said how many of those smartphones were actually purchased by consumers.

Microsoft's silence when it comes to Windows Phone 7 sales has led some analysts to speculate that the software, launched in November, isn't generating much revenue for the company.

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