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Microsoft: mobile apps aren't important

updated 11:30 pm EST, Tue November 17, 2009

MS' Ozzie claims mobile apps secondary

Mobile apps aren't an important factor in the success of a smartphone platform, Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie claimed today. Interviewed at the company's Professional Developer Conference, the veteran developer tried to downplay apps as a lure and insisted that "all the apps that count" will be available on every smartphone as the time to write and port code is much shorter than on the desktop. Ozzie instead implied that it was the OS itself and its built-in features that would make the difference.

The comments are considered by attendees and critics to be a spin downplaying Windows Mobile's weaknesses. Microsoft held an early lead in the number and preference for mobile apps but lost this within a year of Apple opening the iPhone's App Store. It has over 100,000 apps where Microsoft now has just a fraction of that amount, although observers have noted that many iPhone apps are narrow-purpose and sometimes more limited due to Apple's tighter store guidelines.

Microsoft has simultaneously acknowledged that its platform by itself needs a major update and is set to launch Windows Mobile 7 in the second half of 2010 with multi-touch input widely considered overdue. Zune media features are also known to be making the transition to the new OS.

by MacNN Staff



  1. sgirard

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Mac Ads

    PC: "All the apps that count will be ported to Windows Mobile, you know. You developers should just ignore that iPhone platform, you know, the one with 100,000 applications. Don't bother writing apps for Windows Mobile, either. Just wait for all the cool iPhone apps to be ported to Windows Mobile, Android, and WebOS."

    Developer: "Why did I pay good money to come to your developer conference?"

    PC: "Um..."

  1. nowwhatareyoulookingat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I predict

    mobile apps will remain not being important until...Microsoft can claim to have more apps than Apple's app store... Then having more apps will suddenly become THE most important thing for a mobile OS...

  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969



    You can't make this stuff up.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. andrewbw

    Joined: Dec 1969


    how quickly you forget...

    That Apple said something similar when first resisting outside developers being able to create apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The first crack in that facade came with web apps, and finally the App Store.

    I don't think what Microsoft is saying here is necessarily incorrect; but neither is Apple's (or Android's) current strategy of encouraging and nurturing a strong app environment.

  1. leamanc

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Coming from the same company that constantly reminded us that "developers, developers, developers" were what made their OS dominant, this is unbelievable.

    Yes, the OS is obviously very important. But for the most part, it should stay out of your way, and only provide its features in a totally intuitive manner. Put someone in front of an iPhone and they'll figure out how it works very quickly, because the OS is intuitive.

    But the real key to the iPhone's major success has been unquestionably the App Store. "There's an app for that," and that's why people can't live without their iPhones. It's a lifestyle device, and succeeds like no other lifestyle device before or since because of the wealth of apps.

    It seems Microsoft will make any statement--even if it makes no sense or contradicts an earlier statement--just to try and cast FUD upon Apple's success.

  1. minimansion

    Joined: Dec 1969


    sore losers....

    these days the executives at Microsoft sound more and more stupid with every dumb remark that they make...

    they are like an immature group of sore losers that will just say anything negative about another product space that they are not leading in instead of just innovating and competing...

    meanwhile they just keep copying the Mac OS, the stores... everything...

    it must eat them up to know the tide is turning and there is not much of anything they can do about it.. wait until the tablet comes and the gap is bridged between the iPhone OS and the desktop Mac OS.... consumer game over...

    they really do think we are all stupid....

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Mary and Jane

    Looks like Ozzie shares the same friends as Ballmer's—Mary and Jane.

    I don't know what they are smoking. The horses are already out of the barn, like the way WindowsME and Windows Vista were. Oh, what was it? The 'Mojave Project'?

    People are not as dumb as they once were back in the 80s.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. niji

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Grand Central

    you are all wrong.
    apple is banking on Grand Central as a foundation for apps.
    OS is in fact all important and leaving the OS to do as much work as possible and apps to be specific purpose built functions is all he is saying.
    apple agrees with this.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    ballmer 2.5 yrs ago

    "Handsets don't matter; mobile OS market penetration matters"

  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Just WOW

    First came "rounding error" and now this? Ballmer needs to go, and fast. But, as an Apple fanboy, I hope he stays on for a long long time.

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