The Windows Mobile 6.5 Application store is in serious trouble, right out of the gate. If you live in the Netherlands, for example, and were anxiously awaiting the release of the WinMo 6.5 App store prepare to be disappointed. It turns out that you have a whole two applications that are open for download and use. Count them again Netherlands, two.
This stems from an attempt by Microsoft to prevent apps from being constantly used in a foreign (and therefore unknown) language. But instead of executing intelligent and effective quality control, Microsoft has effectively disenfranchised most of the world from most of the application in the 6.5 store.
You can almost hear the snickering over the launch of an App store that only lets you download De Telegraaf and Rain Radar. Nothing against those applications, it’s the selection that is pathetic.
This all comes from a rule from Microsoft that states that for an application to be offered in a certain country, it must be translated into the local language. Vincent Verweij from the Makayama software company made it plain what he thought of the ruling: “Spreken we soms geen Engels in Nederland?’ If your Dutch is rusty, he is effectively decrying the fact that the Dutch do speak English, thank you very much, and should thus be able to access all applications written in English.
Sadly, this ruling hardly just affects the Netherlands, but all non-US web shops. The US may think that it is the center of the universe, but there are many, many more mobile users abroad than on the home shores of Microsoft. This is a global embarrassment.
All of this casts doubt on the ability of Microsoft to build an app store to compete on the same playing field as the iTunes App store for the iPhone and iTouch. The methods that Apple takes with its App store can be bemoaned at every point, but at least they allow applications to be global. Do not speak the language, then do not download the applications. To Microsoft, that is just too much for the consumer to handle.
Look for this ridiculous rule to be tossed out soon.