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Can the Windows Store possibly be ready by Oct. 26?

Brad Chacos | Oct. 2, 2012
When legions of PC users dip into Windows 8 for the very first time in late October, they’ll be greeted by a Start screen that only runs what Microsoft is calling “Windows 8 apps”—touch-optimized programs designed for the new operating system’s live tile interface.

Angry tweets and comments shared across the web offer more insight into why the Windows Store is currently so barren. Microsoft has moved away from a hands-off tradition to instead adopt a "walled garden"complete with a 30 percent cut of app sales, which is the norm for Apple and the iOS ecosystem. This doesn't sit well with many PC enthusiasts and enthusiast-leaning developers.

Valve's Gabe Newell told AllThingsD that the "Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space" for just that reason. And Markus Persson, the creator of Minecraft, didn't respond to our queries, but he was even blunter than Newell in a recent Tweet: "Got an email from Microsoft, wanting to help "certify" Minecraft for Win 8. I told them to stop trying to ruin the PC as an open platform."

Finally, even if a developer doesn't have any philosophical problems with Microsofts new approach to certification and revenue sharing, it still may lack the technical chops to quickly translate an existing app to Windows 8.

"In my opinion, Windows 8 has a much more sophisticated framework for building user interfaces than iOS or Android," says Jonathan Peppers, a senior application developer for Hitcents.com, which will have its "Draw a Stickman Epic" game available when the Windows Store launches. "However, a slightly steeper learning curve can go along with that. If we were not already Windows developers familiar with C# and Xaml, it could take some time to port a native iOS or Android application to Windows 8."

The march to 5,000

So, what can we realistically expect from the Windows Store when it officially launches on October 26th? We reached out to Microsoft for an answer, but the company declined to comment.

Patrick Moorhead doesn't think the Windows Store will hit the magic 5,000 apps mark. "From what Microsoft and its ISV partners have shown so far in the Store, it doesnt appear that they will reach that goal by launch," he says. "Im not ruling it out, as I hear rumblings from the ecosystem that they will, but I think it is low probability."

The number of available apps is actually growing at a decent clip, but when youre dealing with such a low baseline number of apps, you dont need linear growth, you need exponential growth.

According to Wes Miller's WinAppUpdate.com, the Windows Store had 530 apps on August 16. On Sept. 12the day the Windows Store began accepting submissions from independent developers and developers in 82 new countriesthe total sat at right around 1,000 apps. Less than ten days later, there were 2,079 apps available internationally on Sept. 21.

"After Microsoft opened up the floodgates, we've seen a rush of mainstream apps and names we could recognize," Miller says. The one thing missing, however: killer apps. "The Windows Store needs to convince people to say 'I need a Windows RT device,' and it's not there yet."

 

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