If you were contemplating building for Windows 8, and we suspect that given its coming scale that many of you are, we have some good news: Microsoft intends to expand the number of countries from which Metro-style apps can be submitted to 38, from the current 5, in its next update.
Even more, the company intends to expand the number of ‘market-specific app catalogs’ to 26 in the same update. This will greatly grow the number of developers who can participate in the Windows Store, bringing the potential for great growth in the operating system’s app catalog. As part of this developer campaign, Microsoft also intends to “expand the localization coverage of the pre-release developer portal as well, adding 7 new languages.”
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Now, why do you care? Because Microsoft is preparing the grounds for the massive developer crop that must materialize if its ambitious project will succeed. In short, if no one builds for Windows 8, it’s dead in the water. It’s always been true, that platforms live and die based on developer support, but the mobile market has recently underscored the face. Microsoft knows this.
However, it’s moving in measured paces: “We’ve seen millions of Consumer Preview app downloads, by people in more than 200 markets, which just confirms our responsibility to deliver globally. But when you’re building a service at the scale of Windows, it needs to grow gradually and deliberately.” Can’t fault the company for that, but the firm needs to get this update into the market as quickly as possible; developers need to be snagged now to give them enough time to build proper apps for the OS’s launch.
One last note: Microsoft states that these updates will land in the “next significant preview release of the Windows Store service.” Who else wants to bet that that is part of the Windows 8 release candidate, and that the release is just around the corner? I can smell an RC.