This article was published on December 28, 2012

This week at Microsoft: It’s all about the apps, dude

This week at Microsoft: It’s all about the apps, dude
Alex Wilhelm
Story by

Alex Wilhelm

Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]

Merry Friday everyone, I trust that you are tipping the scale at new records following the bacchanal of the past few days. However, long dinners aside, it’s time to take a peek back at the last week of Microsoft news, as we do on the regular.

Instead of the usual grab bag of entries, this week’s roundup has a single theme: apps. Yes, by now you must be deathly sick of the damn things, but their importance hasn’t yet waned, so on we plod.

Ensure that you are following TNW’s Microsoft channel on Facebook and Twitter, and let’s get into it.

Windows 8

This week Windows 8 broke through the 35,000 app mark, putting the operating system on a rate of roughly 415 new applications a day. Average app quality remains a concern.

That in mind, the operating system has met and answered any concerns that existed before its general launch that it would not manage to drum up sufficient developer support to enter the top ranks of platforms.

It has been a full month since Windows 8 hit the 40 million license sold mark. It’s difficult to place a guess on just how many copies have been sold to date, but if the operating system managed 40 million in its first month of general availability, it’s hard to imagine that through the Christmas sales cycle its sales decelerated. Thus, Windows 8 is all but certain to be bubbling towards 100 million copies sold.

That’s quite the install base for such a young platform. In a sense, this is what Microsoft has argued since the inception of the Windows Store: Windows 8 will quickly become the number one or two largest platform to develop for, period.

What we have yet to see is a breakout application for the new version of Windows. Perhaps that will come after the new year.

Windows Phone

Continuing our app theme, Windows Phone added 75,000 applications to its own marketplace in 2012, more than doubling its size, according to Microsoft.

The very same questions that dog the Windows 8 app figure apply; quality remains an issue on a marginal app basis, and certain key applications remain absent from the platform. Lyft, get to work.

However, Microsoft is upbeat, noting that app revenues are up following the release of Windows Phone 8, which should help keep developers interested and active. Windows Phone 8 has been a coup of sorts for the company, as it has led to its strongest handset crop yet, and higher handset sales along with boosted developer momentum; the shared core is a hit, frankly.

Windows Phone remains a small fry, but one that has a future.

VLC and the money question

Our final entry today concerns a specific Windows 8 application: VLC. VLC, in case you are unaware, is an amazing video playing tool. The team behind it wanted to build a Windows 8 application, in the Metro style.

Naturally, the old Windows 7 application would run on any computer running Windows 8 – not RT, etc – but they wanted to do more. So, they passed the hat, looking to raise 40,000 pounds. That goal was met this week.

The episode is disappointing, however, as it appears that Microsoft’s purse strings are tight. VLC is no small application, and to have it land on the Windows Store will be a material improvement to that marketplace’s catalog. Why then did the developers turn to the public, not a sure thing, for the cash it needed. Microsoft has spent to seed the Windows Store for some time. Why wasn’t it active with VLC?

Frankly, Microsoft should be more active with its checkbooks and in-house talent. Windows 8 needs a stronger collection of apps, not simply more. Happily, we get VLC either way, but it makes you wonder.

You do not get a cocktail recipe this week, as there is a bottle of cabernet somewhere in your house that needs attention. Top Image Credit: Ben Lakey

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