Coming on the heels of the failure of Windows 8 in the marketplace is news that the Windows Store is stiffing badly as well, marking another failed promise.
Last October, Keith Lorizio, vice president of U.S. sales and marketing at Microsoft, promised 100,000 apps for Windows 8 within 90 days of release. Well, 120 days later we’re not even halfway there. The site MetroStore Scanner indicates we are at 45,000. It’s grown at a rate of about 10% per month for the last two months.
That’s pretty slow. Even I, as down as I am on Windows 8 itself, expected more. I really thought that the decent existing base of apps for Windows Phone 8 could be quickly ported over to Windows 8. At the recent Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Microsoft said it had 135,000 apps for WP8. And in many cases, you can take a WP8 app and compile a Windows 8 version from Visual Studio with nothing more than a recompile.
Plus, a look at what is in the Windows 8 store isn’t very encouraging. The apps are fairly simple and often pointless to all but niche users. You have stuff like flags of the world and cricket trivia. Then there’s the messy situation with the store itself.
For starters, there is no walling off apps by country/language. So apps in Farsi sit next to apps in Spanish. Secondly, the search method is really broken. Remember those funny commercials for Bing that illustrated how generic words yielded all kinds of crazy results (i.e. “Moms who wear jeans to match their teen’s jeans”)? Well, that’s what you get with the store, as ExtremeTech pointed out.
There’s also no protection of brands. People put out third-party apps all the time for branded products, but Windows Store doesn’t differentiate them. A search for “Facebook” yielded 10 results, but none was identified as actually coming from Zuck & Co.
It gives the illusion that no one is running the show. I remember the desktop widgets marketplace Microsoft had (even though they were all free), and it was a chaotic, disorganized mess. There were redundant widgets, multiple versions of the same widget, and a whole lot of fringe widgets. The Windows Store is starting to give me that same vibe. It has the feel of a Wal-Mart in a low-income neighborhood where no one is paid enough to care.
I can’t help but imagine what the store would look like if Sinofsky were still in charge. Call it a hunch, but I don’t think we’d see this kind of disorder. Now I’m wondering who’s running the show.