Are there really 800,000 Windows 7 apps?

Are there really 800,000 Windows 7 apps?

Summary: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer may not have shared many (any?) new tidbits about Microsoft futures, but he did whip through a lot of stats during his Consumer Electronics Show (CES) keynote on January 6. One of those stats only caught my attention this morning, I saw a couple of folks tweet it: There are 800,000 Windows 7 apps available today. Really?


Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer may not have shared many (any?) new tidbits about Microsoft futures, but he did whip through a lot of stats during his Consumer Electronics Show (CES) keynote on January 6. One of those stats only caught my attention this morning, when I saw a couple of folks tweet it.

Ballmer said during his keynote last night that there are now "over 800,000 new unique Windows 7 applications" that are building on its new features and capabilities. Wow, I thought: Where are all these apps? Did Ballmer include in his count custom, line-of-business Windows apps that early Windows 7 adopters are fixing so they can work with Windows 7? Or was there some secret cache of touch-enabled, Jump-List-friendly programs I had somehow overlooked? Were independent software vendors waiting in the wings to roll out a bunch of new, secret Windows 7 wares that no one knew about?

Nope. Alas, it turns out Ballmer may have added a "7" some embellishment to his claim that wasn't supposed to be there. There are over 800,000 Windows 7-compatible apps out there, a Microsoft spokesperson clarified today, not 800,000 Windows-7-optimized apps.

Update: A spokesperson sent me this clarification after my post went live:

"There are 800,000 Windows 7 apps since beta and over 4,000,000 Windows apps. The number of customized Win7 business apps (i.e. a business creates an in house app for Win7) that are part of those totals are not publicly available as a breakout."

Microsoft is regularly updating its list of applications that are and aren't compatible with Windows 7 -- a list that is frequently updated. But the vast majority of these are XP and/or Vista apps that don't break or only somewhat break Windows 7. They aren't a whole new breed of app that is designed to spur folks to go out and buy Windows 7.

Come to think of it, that's one interesting difference between Windows 7 and older versions of Windows. While the Windows team really did go the extra mile to make sure that ISVs and hardware makers would try to make sure their apps/devices/systems worked with Windows 7 before the product launched, I didn't hear Microsoft trying to recuit developers to create new kinds of apps that would show off Windows 7 and create demand for it. I guess there are a few touch apps (yay Betty Crocker!) that fall into this category. (Even that Kitchen Assistant app works with XP and Vista, as well, however.)

But it will be interesting, especially once .Net 4 (with its new workflow capabilities and more) materializes, whether any kind of new class of compelling "Windows 7 or later" apps emerges.

Meanwhile, are there any Windows-7-specific apps you've seen that might spur users to upgrade? If not, is the idea that local/client-based apps will drive operating system sales on its way out?

Topics: Operating Systems, Apps, Microsoft, Software, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Good question. [Edited]

    That number may be a *bit* off, but it seems as if a lot of the apps I use daily are being updated with Windows 7 in mind., Ccleaner, Windows Live, and Zune just to name a few.

    Chrome is another one, but I personally don't use it.

    Neowin also has a whole list of em:
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • You do realize

      that three of those four apps are made by MS, and that the other one is an operating system utility which had BETTER be optimized for the most current OS if they want to stay in business.
      Michael Kelly
      • Not really...

        CCleaner is made by Piriform. has the following to say:

        It started development as an undergraduate college senior design project mentored by Microsoft, and is currently being maintained by some of the alumni that originally worked on it. Originally intended as a free replacement for the Microsoft Paint software that comes with Windows, it has grown into a powerful yet simple image and photo editor tool. It has been compared to other digital photo editing software packages such as Adobe? Photoshop?, Corel? Paint Shop Pro?, Microsoft Photo Editor, and The GIMP.

        Live, yes.
        Zune, yes.
    • More apps than users.

      Or is the "get W7 for $30" a spurt of altruism from the greed above?
      • What?

        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • RE: Are there really 800,000 Windows 7 apps?

    The question isn't the number of applications, but that the Windows platform is a commoditty, a familiar environment.

    Everybody knows how to program on Windows, there are hundreds of computer languages and frameworks available, you are not restricted to the whim of one company and its app store.
    • Restricted whims...

      Actually, if you use the Windoze platform you ARE restricted to the whim of one company and it's app store... Micro$oft. Ultimately, if you write apps for Windoze you have to cater to M$ at some point or another. This gives them $$$, and control of the market.

      Other vendors' products of this nature never work as closely with the M$ OS as M$' own. To write for Windoze successfully, you need to use languages that work with Windoze and... yup, you guessed it.. that would be languages and programming technologies that M$ provides. For a price, of course ;)
      • Express yourself

        Visual Studio Express and SQL Server Express are free programming tools from MS with free on line training. We built our newest program with those tools and started beta in January running in Win 7. We made sure there was backward compatibility to XP but the development was done under 7.
      • Are you crazy?

        So you are saying Windows based apps can only be created in MS code and no other lang? What are you talking about...? Get your facts right... There are thousands of apps that run seamlessly on the windows platform just the same as any MS created app... Are you saying there are no seamless Java apps that run on Windows systems? The only sense you are making is non-sense!
    • Really?

      Apple's App Store is a distribution method. Are you telling us that you can't peddle Apple software on your own without them? Windows as a platform designed by one company, extended by many. If MS had an App Store I'm sure you'd be joining so you don't have to do any selling of your software. You don't need to create any dedicated website, find hosting or buy a domain name, etc. This one site automatically increases the volume of people that will see your stuff. It's like going to the mall as opposed to a store on the street.
      Rude Union
  • Stupid numbers race

    They do not mean much. I can create 100 apps in evening. They would not do much but still they could be counted as apps :)
    • But would they get the Windows 7 seal of approval?

      • Does the seal of approval include

        testing for the presence of security holes to "spur" the drive of anti-virus software?

        If not, it should do, as MS needs more of your money.
  • just BS!

    even if ballmer counted all the 'hello world' apps, it would not even come close.
    I'm sure Linux has more apps on all the distros.
    Linux Geek
    • What do you care?

      Microsoft is going to be out of business this year, aren't they?
      Mr. Slate
      • The problem is...

        ...LG's been forecasting that for YEARS - and he's been WRONG every time. Epic Fail on LG's part...

        At least he's consistent.
        • LOL. That's what I was referring to...

          I actually saved his link from February of last year where he predicted Microsoft would go "belly up" in 2009. I saved it in my Outlook calendar for 1/1/2010 so I could remind him of how wrong he was.
          Mr. Slate
      • MS ou of business this year?

        Nah, W7 will drop to 5c to "trick" the unwitting and force the escapee OEM's to keep shovelling the hype and junk onto hapless end users so that they can REALLY STING them later on - as they desperately try to leverage the users onto their own (me too copy copy copy) version of "cloud".
        • Oh, excuse me...

          I yawned while reading your boring blather. That's why I was saying "excuse me".
          Mr. Slate
          • Consider yourself excused

            Sleep on, sleeping beauty. Your snoring is the most informative thing we've heard from you.
            Ole Man