Microsoft to launch App Store

September 2, 2008 // 12:38 p.m.

Tags: #apple #app-store #iphone #marketplace #microsoft #skymarket #store #windows #windows-mobile #winmo

Microsoft is once more taking its lead from Apple and hoping to prove that whatever the Cupertino-based company can do, Microsoft can do – if not better, then “also,” with the planned launch of an apps store for Windows Mobile devices.

The source for the rumour comes via a job posting – now 'expired' – on Computerjob.com and picked up by Long Zheng of I Started Something before hitting the mainstream with a CNet article. The job in question was looking for a senior product manager for an as-yet unannounced division called Skymarket, to lead a team that will “drive the launch of a v1 marketplace service for Windows Mobile.

If you're thinking of applying, you'll need to take responsibility for the “definition of the product offering, pricing, business model and policies that will make the Windows Mobile marketplace “the place to be” for developers wishing to distribute and monetize their Windows Mobile applications” along with supporting “business development on engagements with mobile operators and integration of the marketplace offering into broader Microsoft services offerings or discussions.”

If the ad has been quoted correctly, all signs point to an Apple App Store-like marketplace for those who prefer their smartphones to have more of a Redmond flavour. Whether this game of catch-up will actually stem the runaway success of Apple's inaugural range of smartphones remains to be seen – but it's certainly a smart, if unoriginal, move on Microsoft's part.

Something that may hinder adoption of the Skymarket is, ironically, one of Windows Mobile's chief advantages – unlike the MacOS X operating system on the iPhone, Windows Mobile has no restrictions on what software you can install; where iPhone users are given the choice of sourcing software solely from the App Store or risking a 'jailbreak' to run unsigned applications, a Windows Mobile user can download and install anything from anywhere. Given this, what incentive is there to download the software from an 'official' source – especially one which may make a charge to do so?

Any Windows Mobile owners here looking forward to a centralised application store, or is all the best stuff free anyway? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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