Windows Phone hits 145,000 apps: All eyes on the ecosystem

Windows Phone hits 145,000 apps: All eyes on the ecosystem

Summary: With more than 145,000 apps available for Windows Phone, the platform outmatches BlackBerry, but remains dwarfed by iOS and Android. Forget devices and platforms; the key to the third place race rests on what's on offer behind the scenes.


Microsoft now has 145,000 apps available for its Windows Phone platform, the company announced on Friday.

While this figure is only a fraction of what Apple and Google have in their respective application stores, at the last count, it could still be higher than that of BlackBerry's. At the very least, they're at about the same level, taking into account current estimates.

The battle for first place has no end in sight. Apple and Samsung have the duopoly at the top of the smartphone market, while BlackBerry and Microsoft battle it out for the third-place spot.

What's becoming increasingly apparent is that the battle is no longer about platform or even devices; it's about e-commerce revenue, such as app stores and the slice of revenue generated from app sales.

Microsoft's latest figures suggest that the 25,000 additional apps it's added since October show that its app store figures are plateauing out. The software giant has gained a number of high-profile app makers in recent months — Pandora and Hulu, to name just two.

BlackBerry, in the meantime, may have around the same number of apps, but has an added benefit: BlackBerry 10 has an emulation engine that can run Android apps. According to a BlackBerry executive speaking to AllThingsD, 20 percent of all BlackBerry 10 apps are in fact Android apps.

What some may consider as cheating, others may suggest is downright smart.

For smartphone makers, it's all about the platform. For platform makers, such as Microsoft and BlackBerry, it's all about the apps. Apps are a goldmine for siphoning off crucial revenue where it makes no sense to include ads.

For instance, Apple has paid $8 billion to developers since the App Store went live, according to chief executive Tim Cook, speaking at the Goldman Sachs conference in February. Considering that the iPhone and iPad maker takes a 30 percent cut of all apps sold, the company would have made around $3.42 billion just off the back of its App Store market.

Apps are a lucrative market, and both Microsoft and BlackBerry are missing out on a serious money-making venture.

BlackBerry chief executive Thorsten Heins said at the Milken Institute on April 29 regarding tablets — though his views can be transposed almost entirely toward smartphones — that mobile devices cannot survive unless they are backed up by an e-commerce or cloud service that generates money on the back end.

Heins said, in a nutshell, that tablets are being sold on the cheap, and the razor-thin profit margins on these devices can be afforded, because the continued sales from its retail and app store offerings are keeping a steady flow of revenue flooding into these companies' coffers.

Google did this with its Nexus 4 smartphone and Nexus 7 tablet. Amazon also did this with its Kindle devices, knowing full well that it would substitute device sales for the higher-margin sales from its online retail store.

Amazon is also expected to hit the market with its own smartphone later this year, along with a bevy of other gadgets — if the retail giant determines whether they're fit for purpose.

What's clear is that with Amazon reportedly making a punt to offer its own smartphone in an already crowded space, to fend off Amazon's advances for the third place, Microsoft and BlackBerry need to bolster their own app store offerings.

Topics: Mobility, Smartphones, Windows Phone

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  • 800.000 number meaningless

    The 800k number does no mean anything.
    Half of those apps are never downloaded:
    After a certain point more apps with the same function are of little use. 1900 flashlight apps for instance on iTunes.

    And in the Google play store 69000 apps even have been found to contain malware
    • 1900 flashlight apps

      How I agree. Also, how many dog and cat sound apps does Apple need? Quality is what counts, not quantity.
    • meaningless numbers, of course

      the only relevant number is revenues generated by each apps store. Have read a couple of times Apple numbers, quite good, and seems Google apps total revenues are growing fast. So the question is how much revenue is generating MS apps stores. How much? nowhere to find the info, look like they are hiding something.

      So let find the info the other way, users market share: here is clear. There is Android, and there is iOS, distant 3rd being BB. Windows Phone 8? still under 3% worldwide, after 2 years. With that kind of market penetration really there in no money to be made on that platform.

      No wonder why MS don't publish revenues...
      • @theo_durcan

        BB being distant 3rd worldwide??? If you are to take into account the entire BB, then I think you have to consider WP 7.x, WP 8, WM 6.x to shoot MS. I think you might change the distant change from BB.

        However, I do agree that MS might not generate much revenue from the app store. I would say, if MS is successful in putting WP8 as the third platform of choice for majority, which definitely need few years, MS will gain a lot more revenue.
  • It's all about 'unique' apps

    How many mortgage payment calculators, lottery number pickers, unit conversions calculators and games do we need?

    The real value of any app store is the number of unique applications found there. Clearly Microsoft has their work cut out for them to bring the most popular apps to the Windows app stores (both PC and Phone), but they are making progress.

    I believe we have already reached the point where merely browsing ANY app store is a huge waste of time. Trying to wade through hundreds or thousands of apps to find one that is the best fit for your particular needs is mind-numbing.

    While trying out the 'free' version of an app can assist you in an effort to weed out the dreck, constantly installing and uninstalling apps gets tiring too.

    I know that none of the app stores has any incentive to remove apps from their catalog while there is any possibility that someone will select it for a purchase, the experience of visiting the app stores now is much like going into the Library of Congress and asking, "What will I read next?" Certainly the possible rewards are great, but the expenditure of time is not without cost. Increasingly, it's a cost I'm not willing to pay.
    • Weak attempt to diminish the importance af apps

      of course coming from an MS fan-boy is just funny, because the exact opposite was the MAIN argument used to disminish the importance of Windows alternative platforms (macOS, Linux).

      So, now it seems an ecosystem with a wide software selection is not important at all!

      We develop apps for loyalty programs: iOS and android are mandatory, we keep an eye on BB, and WP8 is not even considered. Market dictates where you put your resources.

      If anybody knows a success story on the WP store, please let us know...
  • Apps are still needed.

    There are a lot of missing apps. Not flashlight, or fart apps but real everyday use apps. There are still many apps that are for Android or iPhone only. Take banking apps like the one's that let you deposit checks with your phone. Chase has one for Windows Phone but most of the other banks do not have a Windows Phone app yet. PNC actually has a Windows Mobile app but not a Windows Phone app! You want to fly a Parrot Drone? You need iPhone or Android. Want to control you home security system from your smartphone? You'll probably find that they only make apps for Android or iPhone. Want to start your car from your phone, your probably not going to find a Windows Phone app for that. How about an app from Intellicast? Nope. Android or iPhone only for Intellicast too. I have a Windows Phone and love it. I don't really care too much about iPhone apps like Instagram but I do not like seeing all these cool utility type apps being advertised as for iPhone or Android only. I think that will change eventually but it's gonna be a long wait. It's the whole chicken and the egg thing. Developers are not going to put a priority on Windows Phone until they know they can make money off of it and people like to buy a phone that has all the cool apps. For now, all I can do to help is to support the companies that develop for Windows Phone. I think I'm going to open an account at Chase soon.
    • You nailed it.

      It is the types of applications you describe that were a factor in my decision to move off of the Windows Phone platform last month. After six months the platform doesn't have a number of these types of applications available (things like the GoPro remote control app). Windows Phone is a nice platform but the lack of support kept me reaching for my work iPhone. Once T-Mobile obtained the iPhone I bought one.
      • Gopro app for windows phone

        Already demoed:
        Other gopro apps
    • You two nailed it.

      Windows Phone 8's problem are the lack of the mainstream apps that iPhone and Android users have available to them, not the "fart" apps that make up the majority of either store's offerings. My Nokia 920 comes with excellent apps by default, but WP8 hasn't quite got what most people take for granted on the other platforms yet. Myself, I am sticking it out, at least until Christmas.
    • More 'mainstream' apps

      It's worth noting that Fidelity Investments, one of the nation's largest brokerage firms, recently released a Windows Phone 8 app. It's a well-designed, functional and attractive app, and indicates that support for Windows Phone 8 is coming from the mainstream companies...not as fast as we might like at the moment, but it is building.
    • Drone app is on WP

      One of them here:
      and an Intellicast app:
  • The number of apps is becoming less relevant everyday...

    ...the WP store has had a net gain of 45,000 apps in the last year. It would be interesting to know exactly how many new apps were added, and how many apps were removed from the store. I am sure many of the apps that have been removed were not of high quality, while the new apps added are of high quality (e.g., Pandora). There have been many high profile apps added in the last couple months. Certainly there is much work to be done, but as the number of WP users grows, developers will be looking to get their apps on the platform in tandem with iOS and Android.
  • Windows Phone hits 145,000 apps: All eyes on the ecosystem

    That is a good and reasonable number. The Microsoft Windows Store has been adding a lot of popular apps over the last few weeks. I have about 20 apps on my Microsoft Windows Phone all of which serve me well. More apps just means the good ones are harder to find. I really hope the Windows store does not suffer the same drawbacks as iTunes.
  • If you've ever been involved with Mobile Apps...

    ... you'd see how much easier it is to create apps for the Windows Phone platform. It's amazing to me that people are still making iPhone/Android apps only. Some ex-coworkers of mine are mobile systems application developers and create personal Window Phone apps because they prefer it, but are stuck having to make official apps on iOS and Android first. Their estimation is that the Windows store would be much, much larger if management at companies weren't stuck in their old, flawed mode of thinking. They are seeing a particular interest in many European markets and have expressed a desire their bosses to make a Windows version, and get shot down.

    It's a big artificial barrier and I'm not sure what will change it. MSFT has stated they are not abandoning the platform and Nokia has gone all-in, so there is a top-quality device and OS with loads of money waiting to be utilized. It's not like we're talking about a failing company like RIM (Oh, I'm sorry... Blackberry) shooting blanks in the dark (God help me if I have to deploy a Z10 to any of my officers or VP's here that get that bug up their rear for something "new". Our trials of the Z10/BB10 made it easy for us to never go back to them).

    I see a lot of Anti-MS rhetoric from people who have either never used the devices (especially in the workplace), or have only picked one up for 5 seconds at a store. I don't, however, see real-world examples of people wanting to go back to iOS or Android after using one. Random anomalies aside, there is a high satisfaction rate with the platform, even without the volume of apps. I personally never use my Android anymore because I don't need to. I've found the same or similar apps on my work 920 and I use it almost exclusively. My personal Android is still around for personal calls and that's it (When it stops freezing up). I was skeptical at While I would take an Android over an iPhone any day of the week, you couldn't pry the Nokia 920 out of my cold, dead hands. It's that good.
    • Re: old, flawed mode of thinking

      This made my day. Seriously!

      So you suggest companies that hire your friends should prioritize your friend's hobby of writing software for Windows Phone, over the need to generate income in order to pay your friend's sallaries?

      This are very simple: nobody "hates" WP, except perhaps dissapointed WP users. Everyone writes apps for iOS and Android, because, iOS is where the money are and Android is where the users are. There is neither money, nor users in WP.

      It is also very naive to claim that it is easier to write apps for WP. For, no matter how "easy" or "difficult" it is to design a simple app, any app that is worth publishing has lots of platform-independent code that still has to be written and this code is what differentiates say an flashlight app from AutoCAD.
      • You're off the mark

        Ok, so your point on revenue is somewhat true. In that business apps don't really focus on paid for apps. Most business apps are free to their customers as an entitlement. So being paid for really applies to hobbyists, indie developers, and one off re-made quicken apps. I say quicken because everyone knows how awful that app is on any platform.

        Now to address your "easy" comment.
        Yes developing in .net is easier, faster, and you have the best RAD IDE created if you have resharper enabled. You can argue that point on the IDE, but it is faster than Objective C and Java on Eclipse. And WP8 apps run on both the OS and the phone.

        People as a whole do not like platform-independent code. A lot of users will delete it when they see it. Native apps are graceful UX, where as the WebUI you're referring to is slower and not viewed nicely by users.

        In short, a lot of apps are more for an entitlement if it's not a game. Millions is devoted to apps that don't make any money, but a business won't be investing without a high number of users which the phone just doesn't have yet, but it gets better everyday.
  • They need to auto-purge apps

    Can't get 10,000(or pick a number) downloads in X months, boom your gone.
    • Commie

      Ok Stalin. Are you from Russia and Germany?
  • You really don't need apps for Windows Phone

    The built-in apps (hubs) by Microsoft and Nokia has more than enough for 90 percent of smart phone users. Also almost all the high-profile apps that are available in iOS and Android are available in Windows Store.

    Windows Phones comes with Office, Offline mapping an Skype integrated and no-malware.

    The app count in iOs or Android is nothing more than a marketing gimmick.