Trailing in the smartphone operating system race, Microsoft needs to do more to invigorate its developer base says analysts.
The company recently announced it was eliminating bulk publishing in its app stores. The practice, Microsoft says, diminishes the quality of apps in its marketplace. The issue comes from companies, which individually publish hundreds of apps in a matter of a few days.
To avoid the scenario where bulk publishing crowds out other apps in Marketplace in the future, effective immediately, we are limiting the number of apps any one developer can have certified in a single day to 20. Developers creating a large number of apps can still submit all of them for certification, but they will be certified at a maximum rate of 20 per day rather than all at once, Todd Brix, Windows Phone executive, said in a blog.
However, the idea of limiting the number of published apps per day might not be the best idea for Microsoft. Analysts say the company should be doing everything in its power to get more apps out there for consumers.
Thus far, the company's OS only has about 11,500, according to its own numbers from back in early April. By comparison, iOS has somewhere in the neighborhood of 500,000 approved apps, while Android is in the range of 300,000.
Recently, Microsoft introduced its next phone operating system, codenamed Mango. The next OS will have better integration with search and it will have a live threads feature, which will allow users to switch between text, Facebook chat and Windows Live Messenger within the same conversation. However despite these and other upgrades, the excitement for Windows Mango isn't palpable.
I'm not terribly excited about Mango at this stage. Microsoft needs to get some traction in the market before I will get really interested. As we saw with WebOS, you can have a fantastic OS, but if you can't get a critical mass of handsets & developers, it doesn't really get you anywhere, Bill Morelli, analyst at IMS Research, said.
Even with Nokia behind it, analysts like Morelli are not certain that will be enough to give Microsoft the traction it needs to make a dent in the smartphone race. Metodi Filipov, a developer with Bianor Inc., said such a switch would have no affect in the U.S., which is the most developed smartphone market.
In my opinion the future of Windows Mobile is not clear, even after the commitment of Nokia to switch from Symbian to Windows Mobile. This switch may have some affect on the international market, but I do not expect real change in the US market. Recent surveys show that developers are at their limit in terms of how many platforms they can actually support and a new platform will only help the existing OS, Filipov said.