I remember 6 months ago a discussion with a Microsoft VP who was chest pounding about his coming market place. “Windows Mobile has a portfolio of 20 000 applications that will be centralized for the first time in one market place”.
Wow, I love the Gorilla self persuasion but there is a small “but” that appeared this week, Microsoft will launch Market Place with “only” 600 applications. So, where are those missing applications ?
Windows Mobile may have 20 000 applications, or so, but it is a very fragmented applications portfolio.
First, applications work either on Windows Mobile Smart Phone Edition (or Standard or WM for Non Touch Screen device) or on Windows Mobile Pocket PC edition (or Professional or WM for Touch Screen devices). As applications are usually doubled to work on each platform you can easily remove 40% of the applications as they are just doubles. So let’s say we have now 12000 applications.
Then you need to know on which platform it is working. Windows Mobile 5 or earlier, 6.0, 6.1 ? Let’s say 50% runs smoothly on WM 6.1 / WM 6.5 so we now have 6000 potential applications at best.
And what is the screen resolution supported? Most of the applications have been developed for QVGA screens and the latest devices run a minimum VGA or WVGA. Let’s say 20% of these applications work on a VGA or WVGA with a good user experience, and here we are at 1200 applications. Then Microsoft needs to establish a relationship with the software vendor to get them on board in time and we are in the order of magnitude of the first 600 applications. 1000 consumer applications is the order of magnitude of the number of available applications for a recent Windows Mobile device. Of course you can find business oriented applications, but who cares to have a sales force automation software on his own personal device?
It’s not a big deal to have only 600 applications as long you have the right ones! Best selling applications and Games are the key to success for Microsoft, and Microsoft seems to have done the right choices. Electronic Arts seems to be on board as well as Spb with its best selling Spb Mobile Shell 3. As I mentioned already in these columns, Microsoft should now consider and position Windows Mobile as the Portable XBOX platform if they want to do a breakthrough in the consumer space.