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Microsoft shows WP7 Marketplace, says no outside apps

updated 04:45 pm EDT, Mon March 15, 2010

WP7 has unified music and app store

Microsoft today provided full details of its previously hinted at Windows Phone Marketplace. The store is an improvement on the Zune Marketplace and puts not just apps and music in the same place but breaks out app updates, games and podcasts on the top level. Windows Phone 7's "panorama" layout remains intact and uses the space to both highlight a featured app as well as to delve into specific categories.

The actual purchase page has an iPhone-like description and screen gallery but, as shown at the MIX keynote today, gives customers a "try" option to download an app as a trial version or "buy" to immediately get the full version. Both options provide the same binary, eliminating a common problem at the App Store or Android Market where many apps have two versions.

Notably, Microsoft has also now said that WP7 will only allow apps installed through the Marketplace, reversing its Windows Mobile policy of supporting browser installs. The company's Todd Higgs nonetheless told Engadget that it wants to avoid the inconsistencies and sudden reversals of the iPhone's App Store and will make the process "transparent and predictable." Among the steps, it plans to study borderline cases and update the guidelines if real-world cases show flaws.

The approach leaves just three relatively open platforms as just Android, BlackBerry OS and webOS have avenues for phone owners to download and install apps outside of the official gateway. Both Apple and now Microsoft have argued that security and a consistent experience make a closed experience better, but Microsoft's approach now alienates Handango and any other company that had been offering an alternative to Windows Marketplace for Mobile in Windows Mobile.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    At its finest.

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Constipation at its finest

    Ex-lax, please.

  1. Makosuke

    Joined: Dec 1969



    MS's new mobile interface is certainly attractive, and unusual, but it also looks inefficient and impractical. Maybe I'm wrong and it feels better than it looks, but it seems kind of like something put together by a graphic designer with no UI experience or testing.

    Then again, I guess that's a step up from older Windows interfaces, which were more like something put together by a programmer with no graphic design talent AND no UI experience or testing.

    On the other hand, it'd be nice to see MS's store light a fire under Apple to get their app store policy more even and logical. I doubt it'll happen, both because of Apple's strategy and the fac that this thing might not sell any better than the Zune, but one can hope.

  1. DiabloConQueso

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Transparent and Predictable, but Changeable?

    *The company's Todd Higgs nonetheless told Engadget that it wants to avoid the inconsistencies and sudden reversals of the iPhone's App Store and will make the process "transparent and predictable." Among the steps, it plans to study borderline cases and update the guidelines if real-world cases show flaws.*

    Isn't this extremely similar to the app store, just worded different?

    In Apple-land, developers are made aware of the limitations and restrictions of app development in the iPhone app store when they apply to be an app developer (although end-users aren't really made aware of the restrictions on content), and Apple changes those guidelines as "real-world" cases emerge where change is deemed needed.

    Microsoft now has a closed marketplace for apps, and developers are going to be made aware of the limitations and restrictions of app development, and Microsoft intends to study "real-world" cases and adjust those limitations and restrictions accordingly -- meaning sudden reversals (no more bikini apps) are just as likely with Microsoft's solution.

    ...maybe I'm dense, but those two don't sound all that different from each other.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Looks like the geeks are going

    to have to start "jail-breaking" their WP 7 devices so they can put what they want on them. Microsoft is wise to try and copy Apple. It might keep their platform a bit more stable in the future.

  1. resuna

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No walled gardens...

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    They even had to copy the lame parts of the iPhone? That sure makes the WP7 phones a whole lot less interesting.

  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Updated Tag

    "Microsoft, which Apple stuff do you want us to copy today?"

  1. Nigel2112

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple leads...

    and Micros**t follows.
    Three years late.

  1. qazwart

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Windows 7 is filling out nicely

    It is very interesting how much Microsoft is copying from the iPhone. And, at the same time, trying to make certain improvements. The "Try-before-you-buy" idea does eliminate the problem of having to list the free version and the paid version as separate apps. The only issue I see is that a "try-before-you-buy" scenario means that apps might expire -- something the free versions of the iPhone apps don't do.

    I thought Android would be the competition that Apple would have to beat, but I'm quickly changing my mind. Android is a mess. Users are finding out that the latest phones will have old versions of Android on them. Verizon is even charging users $10/month for the privilege of getting the latest version of the OS. Want turn-by-turn directions? You need to upgrade to the latest Android OS, and that's another $10/month for Verizon customers.

    Meanwhile, Microsoft isn't afraid to parrot Apple where it works for them. The Android app store is a mess. Malware is a big problem inside the Android Marketplace. Users are frustrated when a particular program their friends tell them about isn't there because they have an older version of the OS or because it isn't compatible on their Android handset. Apple's management makes sense: No third party apps and careful oversight of what goes in.

    Yet, at the same time, some nice improvements: "Try before you buy" allows free versions of the apps to sit next to their paid versions. This is much better than having two completely separate entries in the iPhone App Store. The only issue is that Microsoft's policy might let trial apps expire. I can imagine someone getting a trial app, and when they need it, can't use it. Microsoft also pledges better handling and clearer policies. We'll see what happens on that front, but they've already allowed Apple to make all the mistakes.

    I'm no Microsoft fan, but I do think Microsoft could recover. Unlike Google, Microsoft knows how to set specs. Windows 7 phones will all be using the same OS and not various compiled versions. The UI is compelling to look at (although its overly busy with way too many animations and many unclear spots in its interface). And, Microsoft is closely avoiding the missteps that Google and Apple have done.

    Still, there's RIM, and someone with money and market clout might buy Palm. Microsoft is way behind right now, but when you're as big and rich as Microsoft, they can't be ignored.

    To me, it looks like Google has been hurt by Android. The Nexus One had consumer issues that Google couldn't handle. The multiple versions are confusing consumers, and reports of malware scares people away. And, for what? AT&T is taking Android, pulling off Google's apps, and making Bing the search engine of choice. Other carriers will now follow suit. In the end, Android didn't even guarantee Google that people will be using its applications.

    And Android really hurt Google's relationship with Apple. Apple and Google share many of the same goals: Open standards in protocols (Yes, the iPhone is closed, but it depends upon open protocols), the use of WebKit as a model browser engine, and HTML5. Google services made the iPhone compelling when it first came out, and the iPhone helped establish Google's services as part of the mobile world. Now, Google might find itself pushed aside by a platform that currently controls 25% of the market.

    Instead, Google should have been working with RIM and Symbian to make WebKit their default browser on their phones. Helped campaign to get rid of Flash. And, it should increased pressure on Microsoft to make IE HTML5 compliant -- especially on the Windows Mobile and WIndow Phone platforms.

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