Microsoft is restricting the certification of new mobile apps for Windows Phone Marketplace to no more than 20 a day per developer. The move is the latest sign that Microsoft's mobile-app strategy continues to be about positioning the marketplace as a source of high-quality mobile software.
Microsoft's aim is to maintain a balance between choice and customer experience by enabling customers to see a broader and more representative assortment of new Windows Phone 7 apps, noted Windows Phone blogger Todd Brix on Thursday.
"In recent weeks a handful of companies have individually published hundreds of apps in a matter of a few days," Brix wrote. "While these apps meet our certification requirements and give consumers a wider selection of content, we're also finding that publishing them in bulk degrades our customers' experience."
A Consistent Strategy
Microsoft recently began culling some of the mobile apps that large development companies have delivered to Windows Phone Marketplace because the software giant believes they need further work. Brix noted that the removed apps can be resubmitted once their content has been fully refined.
"Microsoft is doing the right thing grooming the app portfolio," said Al Hilwa, director of applications development software at IDC. "They absolutely need to reduce duplicative apps [given that] the quality of the store is a key value to the user."
Microsoft is also betting that the vast majority of Phone 7 developers will appreciate not having their offerings becoming lost in the deluge that a few big developers have been unleashing on a daily basis. And unlike its mobile-app rivals Apple and Google, the software giant is downplaying the value of bulking up to be competitive in the smartphone arena.
Hilwa agreed that the focus on numbers shouldn't be the end game. "They said they are revamping the app store for Mango, and I am guessing they will handle some of these issues better when that happens," Hilwa said.
Revenue Per App
To further shape the app mix at Windows Phone Marketplace, Microsoft intends to establish developer guidelines to help content creators build "compelling apps that offer localized or targeted experiences without having to create dozens of unique apps," Brix wrote. "As we move toward Mango, we'll continue listening and doing everything we can to deliver on our commitment to transparency, choice and quality."
According to IHS Screen Digest, revenue at the world's top four mobile-application stores is forecast to rise 77.7 percent to $3.8 billion this year -- with Apple's App Store expected to account for 75 percent of all mobile-app sales. If Microsoft's strategy succeeds with Phone 7 users, however, it could help the software giant generate more revenue per app than its bulked-up rivals.
On the downside, Nokia isn't expected to be a major Phone 7 handset producer until 2012, and Microsoft's lack of a tablet OS will limit the software giant's mobile-app sales through the remainder of this year. According to Gartner, Apple's iPad played a critical role during 2010 in helping the App Store deliver nearly 90 percent of all mobile-app downloads among the mobile market's top four players.
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