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9/2/2008
03:23 PM
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Microsoft Preps Mobile App Store

Job postings indicate the company will launch a mobile application store, dubbed Skymarket, with the launch of Windows Mobile 7.

Microsoft is gearing up its own application store to do battle with Apple's App Store and the upcoming Android Market, recent job postings suggest.

The postings were originally spotted by blogger Long Zheng and indicate that the company will launch a one-stop shop for Windows Mobile applications that will be released in 2009 with Windows Mobile 7.

In the ad for the senior product manager, one of the key responsibilities of the position include "definition of the product offering, pricing, business model, and policies that will make Windows Mobile marketplace 'the place to be' for developers wishing to distribute and monetize their Windows Mobile applications."

The application store, dubbed Skymarket, would aim to make it easier for Windows Mobile users to find, purchase, and download mobile programs. Skymarket would also add to Microsoft's growing portfolio of digital stores, which include Windows Marketplace, Zune Marketplace, and Xbox Live Marketplace.

There are already over 18,000 applications written for the Windows Mobile platform and these are sold through multiple vendors like Handango, MobiHand, and Pocketland. By contrast, all the official programs for the iPhone go through an Apple-controlled App Store, and Apple gets 30% of the revenue from any application that's sold.

If the App Store is any clear measure, consumers are hungry for mobile applications. Since the App Store launched on July 11, Apple reported that users downloaded over 60 million programs in the first month. This also led to about $1 million a day in revenue, according to Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

The competition is also heating up, as Google recently unveiled its strategy for mobile applications on Android-powered handsets. The Android Market will be taking a more open approach to distributing applications by having a YouTube-like system for registering, publishing, downloading, and buying programs.

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