Microsoft to take on Apple and Google in mobile apps market

1 Sep 2008

The forthcoming Windows Mobile 7 mobile operating system from Microsoft will see the Seattle software giant tackle the obviously lucrative mobile apps market unearthed by Apple with its App Store and Google’s forthcoming Android market.

Last month, Apple revealed that iPhone and iPod Touch users downloaded over 60 million applications from iTunes since the App Store went live with the launch of the iPhone on 11 July. Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, said while most of the applications are free, users paid on average US$1m a day for those which are not – yielding Apple an impressive US$30m in sales within the App Store’s first month of trading.

Only last week, Google posted details that its own mobile operating system (OS), which is under development – Android – will also bring about the creation of a mobile applications marketplace where users of Android devices can buy all kinds of useful software and games.

Google said the new Android market will involve only three steps for developers to register and get selling their applications.

According to rumours, Microsoft also wants in on the action and is preparing an applications store of its own – entitled ‘Skymarket’ – which could be launched in the coming months.

Over the weekend, Microsoft posted a job ad for a product manager who would “drive the commercial operations and infrastructure integration for the v1 launch of an applications marketplace service for Windows Mobile 7”.

The role would involve benchmarking third-party mobile marketplaces for commercial integration options for consumers and developers, generating a set of best practices as input for the app market planner and working closely with product teams and potentially third parties on mobile operator commercial integration.

The job would also involve defining processes for the on-going operation of the business, including funds collection, payment, reporting requirements etc.

Windows Mobile 7 will be the next instalment in Microsoft’s mobile phone OS family. The latest version, Windows Mobile 6.1, currently features on devices like the Palm Treo Pro (pictured).

By John Kennedy

Pictured: the Palm Treo Pro, which features Microsoft’s mobile phone OS, Windows Mobile 6.1

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years