The timing of news from Cupertino is eerie. They’re shouting from the rooftops that over two billion apps have been downloaded to the over 50 million iPhone and iPod Touch devices sold. Obviously, when we recorded our latest podcast a few days ago, we had no idea that Apple would hit these numbers today. But we focused our entire show on Windows Mobile — what was once a leader in the smartphone space. And I have to wonder: why isn’t Microsoft sharing the numbers of available applications for its platform?
See, that’s one of the common responses I get when I talk about Microsoft becoming a potential “also-ran” to Apple, Google and Research in Motion. Folks defend the platform passionately with quotes like “I can install any third party app on my Windows Mobile device and there are tens of thousands of them out there.” Or “Windows Mobile currently has every single other platform beat hands-down in terms of app library due to its long history.” Good points. Apple says there are now 85,000 applications in their store, but I really have no idea how that compares to the Windows Mobile space. Nor do any other consumers.
I know that I’ve used a fair share of third-party applications during my WinMo days. Some of them were outstanding and I’d load ’em up on every WinMo handset I had. And I suspect that many of you have felt the same joy about certain programs in the past. So why then, isn’t Microsoft defending Windows Mobile in this regard? I’m sure it’s difficult to determine the exact number of applications available for Windows Mobile since there isn’t yet a centralized place to find them, but even an estimate would be handy, no?