Mobile
Commentary
4/2/2009
10:36 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
Commentary
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Windows Marketplace for Mobile Only For WinMo 6.5

There has been a lot of discussion about Microsoft's application store, dubbed Windows Marketplace for Mobile since its official announcement at Mobile World Congress in February. The latest bit of info on the application store is it will not work on any existing platforms.

There has been a lot of discussion about Microsoft's application store, dubbed Windows Marketplace for Mobile since its official announcement at Mobile World Congress in February. The latest bit of info on the application store is it will not work on any existing platforms.Instead, you must either buy a new phone, one that ships with WinMo 6.5 later this year or a WinMo 6.1 device now for which the manufacturer has already committed to a WinMo 6.5 upgrade. I cannot imagine what the logic is behind this decision. An insignificant number of people will go out and buy a new device just so it is easier to download and install apps. There cannot be changes so substantial under the hood for WinMo 6.5 that the application for the marketplace wouldn't run on another WinMo 6.x device.

Developers probably aren't too happy about this either. All of their apps today support WinMo 6.0 and 6.1, and most support 5, 2003SE and even 2002 platforms. They are now going to be expected to pay $99 to get in the catalog for an initial audience of zero.

Microsoft should be using the application store as a marketing tool to build brand loyalty and awareness of the capabilities of the platform, even for the old and apparently soon to be forgotten OS's Windows Mobile 6.0/6.1. I am hoping the person that has made this decision will get their Clue Pill prescription refilled over the weekend and reconsider. With Apple, Android and Blackberry all pushing their app stores, all of which are live, and with WinMo being perceived as a bit long in the tooth compared to some of its competition, MS needs to breathe new life into the platform.

WinMo 6.5 and 7 will surely help, but it will leave a sour taste in the mouth of some as they look at their phone they just paid $299 for within the last few weeks and realize one of the cool new things being talked about won't be available for them at all. The revenues for developers will have a much slower acceleration curve as well. It seems to be to be a lose-lose-lose situation all around.

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