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Windows Store has enough apps to prevent Windows RT flop, say analysts

Gregg Keizer | Oct. 30, 2012
The apps available for Microsoft's new Windows operating systems are good enough to entice early buyers of tablets and other touch devices, analysts said.

Miller echoed Moorhead's assessment of the Windows Store as it exists now, and cited the Hulu, Netflix and Kindle apps as examples of solid last-minute additions.

"Right now, there is a decent quantity of apps to kick-start the platform, and I think, as long as a consumer has modest expectations of Windows RT and the Surface RT outside of Web browsing, email and the collection of apps that are there, then they'll be happy," said Miller in an email reply to questions.

Not everyone agreed.

While the overwhelming majority of the reviewers who examined the Surface RT last week waxed poetic about the hardware and its premium look-and-feel, most criticized the weak app selection in the Windows Store, the Microsoft-curated e-market that is the sole source of software for the "Modern" (formerly known as "Metro") user interface.

"In short, there just aren't enough apps," said Mathew Honan of Wired on Oct. 23.

"There are rough edges to the Surface," wrote Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal. "The biggest is a paucity of apps for the new touch interface."

"The Windows Store inventory is alarmingly short of high-profile apps," chimed in Jon Phillips of PCWorld, which like Computerworld is owned by IDG.

Moorhead said the reviews were a "fair assessment" of the situation, but added, "They're only a snapshot in time. We all know that Microsoft will improve [the app inventory]."

Because the Windows Store, like rivals from Apple and Google, is a moving target, Moorhead and Miller both warned that their current appraisal was only that.

"Microsoft placed a wager, built a device, built an operating system (or three), and asked developers to take a chance on them," Miller said. "It seems to be starting -- but time will tell how much of a virtuous cycle between developers and consumers gets started in the Windows Store."

"I really think it's too early to call," agreed Moorhead, adding that it may be months before outsiders can get a grip on how well Windows RT and its hardware are doing.

Moves by major third-party developers would help. There have been no signs of Modern apps from Facebook, for instance, or Twitter -- although independent Twitter apps such as MetroTwit, are available -- or LinkedIn.

"There's no doubt that the hardware is high-quality," said Moorhead. "But Microsoft needs to seal the deal with consumers by improving [the app selection]."

 

 

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