Microsoft allows developers on Windows Phone 7 marketplace

SCRAMBLING SMARTPHONE OS VENDOR Microsoft has announced that it is opening Windows Phone 7 application submission to its apps store up to developers.

This means that anyone registered as a Windows Phone Marketplace developer will be able to submit applications for approval and ultimately end up with them on the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace. The late timing of this announcement comes as something of a shock, as many would have thought Microsoft might have established this facility some time before it launched its new smartphone operating system.

The procedure takes around three to five business days from submission to being certified and then published. However Microsoft isn't too certain of itself, saying that as the process is new, developers should let it know if they experience any problems. And it seems that developers are doing just that on the firm's support forums.

Third party applications are seen as vital to the success of any smartphone operating system. Rather than advertising the Iphone's hardware, Apple prefers to highlight various applications that are available through its App Store and often boasts about the large number of applications available to users.

Recently Jobs' Mob revealed that more than 300,000 applications are available on the App Store, and similarly, the Android Market has swollen to over 100,000 applications. Of course most users will only ever load a fraction of a per cent of the total available applications on their device but the message is clear, the higher the number of available applications, the greater the potential functionality of the device.

Microsoft has been dogged with developer issues in the runup to the launch of Windows Phone 7. Announcements such as Skype giving up on developing a client for the Vole's upcoming smartphone operating system sent out the message that it simply wasn't worth it for developers to spend their limited time to port their applications to yet another smartphone operating system.

For Microsoft, the firm could end up in a Catch-22 situation, where poor sales of Windows Phone 7 devices lead to developers deciding to shun the operating system in favour of IOS and Android. That in turn will make the vendors of devices running the Vole's operating system see its consumer appeal diminish, which could lead to the self-fulfilling prophecy of low sales.

All of this leads us to ask the question, why did Microsoft wait so long before opening up its developer program? Although developers are unlikely to have waited until now to start coding their applications, the move means that users who bought devices at launch be presented with a deserted Marketplace, hardly the image a company that is desperate to regain lost ground in the smartphone market wants to present.

The quantity of applications available on the Marketplace is, of course, not indicative of their quality, but as it is used as a barometer of available functionality by Microsoft's chief competitors, one would have thought that this announcement would have been made weeks prior to the launch of Windows Phone 7.

The fact that it took the Vole nearly a month after the launch of Windows Phone 7 to make this announcement goes to show that Microsoft still doesn't understand the smartphone market. By Lawrence Latif - The Inquirer

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