Microsoft launched Windows 8 back in October last year, and with it came a brand new app store – the Windows Store, with Microsoft tweeting that the store has just passed the 100,000 apps mark.
Originally designed specifically for “full-screen” apps that run in the “Metro” environment, which Microsoft now calls the “Modern UI”, I noted back in November 2012 that Microsoft had then passed 20,000 apps.
However, as I said in the time in an article published over at iTWire, it looked like Microsoft was including at least some desktop apps in that number, even though Steve Ballmer said at the Build 2013 conference that there were 2 to 3 million Windows desktop apps out there in regular use every day.
So, I’m not sure whether Microsoft is counting any traditional Windows desktop apps in its listing of 100,000 apps in the store or not – presumably they aren’t – but they have done it in record time.
CNET notes that it took Google around two years to get to 100,000 apps in the Google Play Store, while the iPad got to the figure of 100,000 iPad-specific apps in just a year-and-a-half.
However, as WinBeta notes, there do appear to be a lot of “crappy apps” in that list of 100,000.
I’ve noticed myself a range of generally very poor PacMan clones, car racing games and other gumpf that you wouldn’t want to download, or would want to very quickly delete after having downloaded.
That said, however, there are a lot of top quality apps there too, from the Angry Birds of the app world through to upcoming titles such as new Facebook and Flipboard apps, amongst thousands if not tens of thousands of others.
Indeed, let’s not forget similar claims of endless “fart apps” and other useless apps having plagued the iPhone, iPad and Android stores in the past, a situation which still exists but pales into insignificance compared with the many hundreds of thousands of quality titles those two platforms now offer.
Clearly, with “only” 100,000 apps in the Windows Store, Microsoft is still way behind Apple’s 900,000 iOS apps and Google’s 700,000 Android apps.
But even though Microsoft has obviously allowed some dodgy clone apps and apps which are repetitions of each other for different areas (such as the dozens of “Century 21” apps shown in the WinBeta story linked above), Microsoft has nevertheless been hard at work courting developers to get as many quality apps up and running as possible for the Windows 8/RT and now Windows 8.1 environments.
Microsoft has deep pockets and still plenty of time to come from behind once again, just as it has done many times in the past, such as with early pre-Windows 3.11 versions of Windows, the Xbox which fought against the might of Sony’s PS2 and even titles such as Word and Excel, which once lagged far, far behind titles such as WordStar and Lotus 1-2-3.
So, Microsoft can celebrate a nice six-figure quantity of apps in the 100,000 milestone, but let’s hope that Microsoft and its developer community really starts ramping up the quality of future apps – something integral to all platforms out there, not just Windows.
Knowing Microsoft’s history, this is a fight they aim to win, and even though they are behind, the rest of 2013 and all of 2014 should see the app store wars ignite to a level as yet unseen.
Exciting times are ahead, and while there’s sure to still be a few crappy apps emerging, the best, as always, is still yet to come.