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Having a Look at Windows Marketplace for Mobile Karishma Sundaram | , 5:32 p.m. Nov. 14, 2009 2009-11-14

The Windows Marketplace for Mobile did not take off with a bang. On the contrary, the hype was underplayed and the expectations were low. Good business sense, especially if the product or service is not entirely tested and there are chances that it may falter in certain places. One can of course argue that there should be no chinks in a product, but while that is a great goal to have, in practice it can be quite unrealistic. 

That’s the theory part in any case; in practice the Windows Marketplace for Mobile is great – even though the name is a mouthful. 

Microsoft didn’t have a good start to the year, as they were planning to launch Windows 7 this year. In this case, Windows 7 refers to the next version of their mobile operating system and not the desktop version. At the Mobile World Congress held at Barcelona, a number of phones that were supposed to have the new version were debuted with the 6.5. The 6.5 version was also new, it just wasn’t 7 – in that there were less features than originally envisaged. 

Around the same time, Microsoft was looking to rebrand their mobile operating system, by dropping the ‘Mobile’ entirely from the name. The announcement was not received particularly well, as there would have been major confusion with the desktop operating system. 

Fast forward to the third quarter of the year, and there are a number of high-end devices that have come packaged with Windows Mobile 6.5. Slowly Microsoft has managed to carve a fair-sized niche for itself in the industry. As no self-respecting niche is complete without an application store, Windows Marketplace for Mobile was introduced. 

Most mobile phone manufacturers are aware that developers account for a large chunk of their profits. This may be direct – with developers buying the phones themselves – but more often than not it is indirect. Indirectly the products which developers create and, as a result, with which they populate application stores prove very attractive to individual users. A well-stocked application store means that an individual user can customize their device, and have it perform tasks that are directly tailored to their needs. 

Windows Marketplace is slowly building up to become a comprehensive department store. Last week, there were numerous additions to the store, some of which were not even mobile applications. Good strategy displayed by Microsoft once again, because a user surfing for useful apps may just encounter a couple that they would like on their personal computers as well. 

The marketplace also has an excellent desktop version, learning from the mistakes made by other operating system developers. However, there was a problem as only phones that had version 6.5 could avail of any of the applications. Luckily, this will soon be rectified, as all operating systems with the version 6.x should face no problems. 

Because the hype of the Marketplace was restricted, some of the shortcomings have been viewed with almost an indulgent eye. Microsoft adopted an excellent strategy, leaving the possibility of improvement wide open.

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