Monday, September 1, 2008

Skymarket: Windows Mobile App Store

Now, there are three with more to come.  Skymarket, Microsoft's app store for Windows Mobile 7, joins Google's Android Marketplace to be the next in line to create an online marketplace for a specific mobile platform.  Apple's App Store for the iPhone was launched in July selling about one million dollars a day.  

While that number is insignificant to Apple and any revenue Microsoft or Google generate from their app stores will have no impact on their own finances, what is important is the bragging rights and the attraction to developers.  Already there are fundamental difference between Apple and Google's implementations.  Apple keeps a strict control over the app approval process while Google is taking a free market approach.  

There are advantages and disadvantages with both methods but at the end of the day, what will users and developers head towards?  A walled garden where Apple promises safety, stability, and experience mobility as Apple thinks we should?  Or Google's way, a free for all like a real market and developers deal with customers more closely.  

It is understandable why Google would take this route even if guaranteeing stable and safe software may be more difficult.  So, would Microsoft take this route?  

It's possible but Microsoft, who has been particularly sensitive to virus and other malicious attacks over the years will need to be very wary of any approach they take.  Perhaps, the responsibility ultimately lies with mobile warriors but at the end of the day, public perception will be very important.  No news is good news and if it's known there's a bad app out there or the media isn't buying the spin these companies offer, it could be very difficult to attract developers.

Apple has already proven the importance and popularity of the iPhone app store with customers.  Just about everyone is behind Apple with such a store and to entice developers, Google's hands-off model may be what's necessary to bridge the gap.  And we with anything from Google, don't be surprised if it's in beta for a long time, using the behavior to make modifications as they learn from the marketplace themselves.  And the given the positive perception the public has of Google, certain mistakes committed by Google may be overlooked by the public.

Microsoft may not be granted such a pass by the media.  However, they will have learned some things from Zune marketplace and its Xbox experience.  So far, we only know Microsoft is looking to develop an app store to work along side Windows Mobile 7 (as is evident from CNet's post in a Microsoft job opening).  

Right now, that's still quite some time off.  Google's nimbleness with Android Marketplace will beat Microsoft's launch to the market even if it is in beta.  Microsoft can take comfort in knowing they will have a lot to learn from two distinctly different models:  closed and monitored versus an open market.  

Other related articles:

  • Onxo:  Piling on Android or Against iPhone?
  • Onxo:  Apple's NDA on SDK - An Opening for Others
  • App Store versus Android Marketplace (Phandroid)
  • Android Market (Android Blog)
  • Android Marketplace Not Guarded (Android Community)
  • Microsoft Skymarket - the non-Apple App Store (iTWire)

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