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Windows Phone App Store Back Online

Microsoft says glitch with application store security certificates has been resolved.

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Microsoft said it has fixed a problem that earlier this week forced it to temporarily suspend publication of new apps to its online Windows Phone store. The problem, which the company traced to buggy digital certificates, caused errors for users who tried to install apps, as well as for developers who tried to publish them.

"We fixed the digital certificate problem and last evening resumed publishing new apps," said Todd Brix, Microsoft's senior director for Windows Marketplace, in a blog post late Thursday. Brix cautioned, however, that it could be a couple of days before the fix fully takes effect, so site users may still experience some glitches until then.

"If your app was in the process of being published, you don't need to take any action," Brix told developers. "We have applied the fix and the app will continue through the certification and publishing workflow as normal."

Brix said the problem with the digital certificates, which handle identity authentication, arose after Microsoft earlier this month deployed the Windows Phone Dev Center, "which includes a completely rebuilt backend infrastructure." In his post, Brix mentioned he'd earlier warned of "the possibility that we might encounter some hiccups ... we did."

Microsoft said the issue affected only "a small percentage" of the more than 100,000 apps in Windows Phone Marketplace. Those impacted included The New York Times' app, WhatsApp, and Bing Translator.

[ What should you expect from Windows Phone 8? Microsoft's Windows Phone 8: The Good. ]

Only users with Windows Phone models that were updated from version 7 of the operating system to 7.5, also known as Mango, supposedly experienced the error. Some users, however, reported having problems with phones that came with Windows Phone 7.5.

User Bert Caris said his New York Times app was hit with the error even thought his Windows phone, an HTC Titan X310e, came with Mango preinstalled. "After the update the app does not start," wrote Caris, on Microsoft's Windows Phone blog.

The problem isn't likely to put much of a dent in Windows Phone sales, unless it lingers. Microsoft is gearing up for the launch of Windows Phone 8, expected to arrive later this year.

The company is counting on the new platform to boost its meager share of the smartphone OS market. It held 3.8% of the U.S. market as of June, compared to 10.7% for RIM, 32.4% for Apple's iOS, and 51.6% for market leader Google Android, according to the latest figures from ComScore.

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