In an effort “to help pave the way for new store features and new apps in the months ahead”, Microsoft is making some changes to the Marketplace for Windows Phone.
In a post on the Windows Phone blog, Mazhar Mohammed explains the changes which have already begun as well as some which are coming in the weeks ahead:
The Zune PC Software & the Marketplace
The most significant change is Microsoft’s decision to remove Marketplace accessibility from the Zune PC software. Currently, there are a few different ways to search for and download apps for Windows Phone: the Zune PC software, the web Marketplace and the Marketplace on the device itself. As of last night, the Marketplace will no longer be an option for Windows Phone users. Microsoft’s reasoning for this change is that users, or the majority, simply do not use the local software for this practice, so they are focusing their resources on the two options that most users tend to use.
Note: The Zune HD app Marketplace will still be accessed through the Zune PC software.
Note II: If you must have the Marketplace functionality in the Zune PC software, check this out.
Windows Phone 7.5 & the Marketplace
Most users have been running Microsoft’s latest Windows Phone update, Mango (aka7.5), for quite some time, but there are those who have yet to update for one reason or another. For these people, Microsoft will be forcing their update by making it impossible to download new apps from the Marketplace unless their device is running at least v7.5. Microsoft explains their reasoning:
Marketplace is growing fast. It now has over 80,000 apps overall and is available in 54 (soon to be 63) countries around the world. Requiring Windows Phone 7.5 is part of a larger effort aimed at improving Marketplace performance and security, and paving the way for even faster growth and more new features.
While these changes may be a little shocking to some who don’t want Windows Phone 7.5 or currently use the PC software to browse the Marketplace, these changes make sense for most Windows Phone users and will help Microsoft to continue streamlining Windows Phone while the marketshare continues to increase.