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Metro… oops …Windows Store apps – Is it entering ‘a brave, new, crowded world’?

Microsoft still has many tables to turn

Although it’s been only a week since the launch of Windows 8, Surface and a flurry of tablets supporting Windows8, the word is out there. Will Microsoft’s $1.5B investment to get ahead pay out? In its quest to make Windows 8 much more than Windows 7, the Windows Store needs to go above and beyond. And rightly so, it has opened to developers in more than 120 countries and to any developer who wants to be in.

As I had mentioned in my previous blogs, Google and Apple are established players in the app market and Microsoft needs to do THAT thing to make the dent. Towards the effort to establish a developer ecosystem, they kicked-off a four day developer conference in style earlier this week (equivalent of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference or Google’s I/O event.) to get developers to get-in-the-wild and create applications for Windows 8 and Windows RT. Not to mention, each developer received a free Surface and 100 gigs of storage on their cloud.

But hey, it has to play the game right and there are a lot of rules of engagement here.

Windows 8 – the uncertain future

Although many major players have their apps on Windows store, many others don’t. And this is for various reasons known to us – limited demand, lack of funds, lack of resources, unwillingness to venture into new and uncertain pastures. So the fact remains, despite all the hoopla, Microsoft has a steep hill to climb. The app count in the store hence is fairly low and next web thinks that it will need until end of November to get to the 10,000 mark.

The lagging Metro IE10

Athough the Metro IE10 has the built in flash player for white listed websites, it disables Java by default and forces users to use HTML5 based substitutes. There were also talks about apps being severely restricted in what they can do within the Windows8 environment.  Apparently, the apps would be contained in a more restrictive sandbox which would prevent them for performing certain actions.

And what about branding?

Although Microsoft had its reasons to rename the metro style apps to Windows store apps, metro had a certain style to it and was shaping up their brand nicely. It definitely has got a lot of people off guard here without any reasoning. May be the developers don’t care…but the brand managers definitely do.

The next move?

Influence communities, corporations and end users and demonstrate the value of their marketplace.  Gaming companies could be a great target. For example, hot off the press, game-streaming firm Agawi is making plans to work on the new Windows 8 app for gamers.  It had released GameZen which allows the streaming of online games on PCs and tablets. Being an early adopter, Agawi brings a zillion games to the Windows 8 tablet and phone users. Microsoft needs to invest its energies in creating multiplier effects and bring more early adopters on to the stage. It needs to place those apps that matter most, the apps that can get full attention of customers in place very quickly. Developer’s conference is a step in that direction but we’ll be waiting to hear of more strategic moves from the Redmond guys.


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