"We have no plans to build out Windows apps," said Clay Bavor, product management director for Google Apps, in an interview with U.K. tech news site V3. "We are very careful about where we invest and will go where the users are but they are not on Windows Phone or Windows Phone 8."
As a Google employee, Bavor may not be completely objective. His company competes fiercely with Microsoft on a number of fronts, including search, online advertising and cloud software.
Google offers its basic Google Apps for Business, which includes word processing, spreadsheet and presentation apps, as well as 25 GB of online storage, at $5 per user, per month. Google Apps for Business with Vault, which adds data discovery, archiving and retrieval services, starts at $10 per user, per month.
Microsoft has countered with Office 365, a cloud-based version of Microsoft Office that includes online editions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint and some of the tools the company gained through its acquisitions of Yammer and Skype. Pricing starts at $4 per user, per month for the standard edition, and extends to $20 per user, per month for a version that includes enterprise tools like e-mail archiving and hosted voicemail support.
[ On the other hand, Google does see value in Apple's market share. After a three-month absence, Google Maps Returns To iPhone. ]
Third-party studies show Bavor's concerns aren't without some justification. Windows Phone currently holds just 3.2% of the mobile operating system market, according to the latest numbers from ComScore. Apple holds 34.3%%, while market leader Google, with its Android OS, commands a 53.6% share.
Things aren't any better for Microsoft on the tablet front. IDC puts the company's current share of the tablet market at just 2.9%, and predicts it will grow to just 10.3% by 2016, despite the billions of dollars that Microsoft put into developing, producing and promoting Windows 8 tablets like Surface RT and Surface Pro.
Weak sales numbers for Windows Phone and Windows 8 put Microsoft in a chicken-and-egg situation when it comes to attracting developers to its platforms. Companies aren't willing to commit the time and money to creating apps for environments with relatively few users, and consumers are likely to bypass devices that aren't backed by developers.
The situation has left Microsoft with some key holes in its app portfolio. For instance, there are no official apps from Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for Windows 8. Google has published a dedicated search app for Windows 8.
In another effort to boost sales of Windows Phone, Surface RT and other Windows 8-related products, Microsoft this week said it will convert a number of so-called pop-up stores it opened around the country for the holidays into permanent locations.
"Based on the success of the Microsoft holiday stores, the company will extend all of these locations into the new year. These stores will transition into either permanent brick-and-mortar retail outlets or specialty store locations," Microsoft said in a statement.