Microsoft Looks to Create App-parity Between Windows Phone and iOS

Microsoft’s Windows Phone Marketplace is over 70,000 total mobile apps. This is a huge number and one that was achieved in record time, but still, there is this feeling that Microsoft’s mobile Marketplace isn’t quite good enough for the average consumer looking for a smartphone platform home.

There are a few reasons for this and ways Microsoft can remedy this and, thankfully, Microsoft is aware of them, based on internal slides which have been posted by ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley.

The main differences (besides total app count) between the Windows Phone Marketplace and the App Store for iOS are:

  1. Marketplace apps are too expensive when compared to their iOS counterparts.
  2. Windows Phone is still missing some major 3rd party apps (Pandora, Instagram…)
  3. The Marketplace needs more quality, exclusive app titles.

Expensive Apps and Games

It’s been well documented that Windows Phone apps, especially Xbox LIVE games, are typically more expensive than the same titles on iOS (Click here for a comparison chart). Why should a user choose a platform where Angry Birds costs $2.99 and doesn’t receive constant updates when they can choose iOS and get the same title for $.99 and receive the most current updates? Xbox LIVE achievements is a good benefit, but for a new platform, price is king.

More Official 3rd Party Apps

It’s a well-known story that Windows Phone is still missing some of the major apps users crave. Pandora is often cited as the one major application that the platform needs to be a viable alternative to iOS and Android. Microsoft realizes this and seems committed to bring app parity with iOS this year by courting and aggressively pursuing those developers.

Exclusive, exclusive, exclusive!

Finally, exclusive titles are a must for a new platform. Aside from the integrated Microsoft services (Office, Xbox, Zune), users need an app-reason to choose Windows Phone over the competition. Very good, exclusive titles are one way to achieve this. Titles like Wordament and Tentacles are two current examples of app differentiation on this platform. This needs to increase and Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia should help.

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