Ina Fried

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Microsoft: We Have Lots of Windows 8 Apps, but We’d Rather Not Say How Many

Many people will look at the Windows 8 storefront and find the number of apps lacking, whether in terms of number, or in terms of big names.

Yes, apps from Netflix and Hulu Plus are there, along with Evernote and eBay. But all one need do is plug in an iPhone or try to update their Quicken portfolio to see the major omissions. Intel, for one, is touting that fact — along with its compatibility with older Windows apps — as a key selling point for machines that use its processors.

Still, for its part, Microsoft notes that its App Store will have more apps than any other store at launch. Indeed, the number of apps is triple that of just a few weeks ago.

So, how many apps is that exactly? Well, um, we’d rather not say, Microsoft says. After all, there are many ways to count apps, and …

It’s nothing new for Microsoft to launch a new version of Windows with few apps designed for its new features. On day one of Windows 7 or Windows Vista, one would be lucky to name 10 apps that really took advantage of new features.

The difference with Windows 8 is that older Windows Apps really look like second-class citizens in a world designed for touch-centric programs. What’s worse, Microsoft has a second operating system, Windows RT, that works with phone and tablet chips, but only runs the new-style apps.

“Those are not all going to be there day one,” agrees Antoine Leblond, the Microsoft executive responsible for the Windows storefront that is home to the new Windows 8 apps. The key, Leblond says, is the momentum that Microsoft will get as the number of Windows 8 machines quickly grows into a significant figure worthy of developers’ attention.

Then the OS will benefit from a number of factors, including the ability of developers to write in multiple languages, the flexibility to use Microsoft’s payment system or not, as well as the potential for developers to earn 80 percent of store revenue, rather than the standard 70 percent cut once apps have generated $25,000 in revenue.

Although Microsoft has been accepting paid app sales since it finalized Windows 8 this summer, Leblond says the real test will come as machines preloaded with the new OS go on sale.

“The store opens Friday,” Leblond said. “That’s when things will get interesting.”


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