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A glimpse behind the curtain of the Windows Phone app marketplace

May 10, 2012|By Michelle Maltais
  • A Nokia Lumia 800 smartphone is displayed inside a Nokia retail store in Helsinki, Finland. It runs on the Windows operating system and has access to the Windows Phone Marketplace.
A Nokia Lumia 800 smartphone is displayed inside a Nokia retail store in… (Ville Mannikko / Bloomberg )

While the number of offerings is a fraction of the apps available for iPhones and Android phones, Windows Phone Marketplace is steadily populating the store with stable of key titles.

"We feel very very good about where we've gone -- trajectory from zero to more than 80,000 applications," Microsoft's Casey McGee told The Times.

McGee and Brian Seitz, both senior marketing managers for Windows Phone, pull back the curtain a bit on the store and give us a look inside.

As the Windows Phone team works diligently to improve the shopping experience, McGee said, their hope is that people will return regularly to the marketplace to "recreationally to look" at what's new. Every day, about 200 to 300 apps are being published, he said.

When the company decided to blow up its app store and start over, "we were in a unique position," Seitz said, of being able to learn from Apple's app approval process and make Microsoft's more transparent.

"We saw what was going on in the industry," McGee said. "Developers were getting more and more frustrated with the process."

To that end, he said, there's a lot of communication throughout the process. "We don't' just bounce it back, we explain to them," he said. The revenue split with developers is 70/30.

Recently, Microsoft outlined some efforts for quality control, including specifics on branding and content to help reduce the possibility that developers would have their apps pulled from the Marketplace.

On the operating system, both Seitz and McGee said the software experience is consistent regardless of phone.

"The customization and personalization is something," Seitz said. He changes his start screen depending on different scenarios in his life and travels.

"We have the hardest working start screen in showbiz," Seitz said, talking about the real-time updating Live Tiles. "More and more, I'm using my phone in a glance and go moment." 

Seitz pointed out one distinguishing feature of Windows Phone devices. They are the only ones that run Xbox Live titles. Among those offerings is Wordament, a Boggle-style word tournament that pits you against the Internet. This game had them gushing that it's "the next Words With Friends."

It seems to be resonating with users as well. With more than 7,500 reviews, the app has a ranking of 4.5 stars.

Windows Phone will extend its reach, Seitz said, "as people catch on to these new gems and see how hard the operating system works."


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