There are long bets and there are long bets. You have to give Microsoft some credit for being stubborn when it comes to the big steps it took when it decided to change up the faces of Windows, beginning with Windows Phone and extending that to its desktop and mobile efforts. Microsoft has taken a pounding for any number of reasons along the way so far, and one of those reasons is the decided lack of quantity and quality of titles available in its App store. In either the category of “maybe he knows something we don’t” or “rallying the troops,” Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore took to Twitter yesterday to proclaim that this App Gap will be ending in a year’s time.
Here’s hoping he’s right and the third ecosystem that he says is “decidedly here” will actually arrive and also thrive. This comes in the wake of several big name Apps recently appearing on Windows Phone and one or two showing up for Surface. Waze, and a beta of Instagram and Vine are now all available on Windows Phone. Flipboard and Facebook have finally found their way onto Surface Tablets. It’s a start, but there is a long way to go in a year.
Instagram didn’t arrive on Windows Phone without some controversy though, and immediately following the celebratory news of its arrival, a small firestorm erupted over what features were and were not included. Forbes called it a sham and damaging to the Windows Phone platform. Others were a little more circumspect in analyzing the issue. Instagram may indeed be a bellwether App. The controversy points out that we seem to have already decided that a platform isn’t a complete platform unless certain staples are there.
Not that it can’t be done and there are signs of progress. Strategy Analytics is reporting that 32% of developers are looking to develop for Windows Phone next year. Some recent surveys show that Windows Phone is beginning to shake things up in Europe. The mantra, as always, is that competition is good for consumers, and I for one would love to see Microsoft surge a bit. In the relatively short history of App Stores we’ve seen that developers follow users when it comes to bringing their wares to a platform. Once the numbers are there developers will follow their best interests to try and take advantage of a new market. I hope that this doesn’t become a numbers race but instead focuses on quality vs. quantity.
So, Windows Phone users, what do you think? What Apps are missing for the platform? What do you need to see before you feel things are beginning to turn the corner? Let us know in comments.