Microsoft reveals that Windows Phone only has 145,000 apps, growth starts to slow

The app marketplace on Windows Phone 8 is one of its biggest drawbacks, with some major developers choosing not to release their apps on Windows Phone alongside iOS and Android because of the inferior market share. Microsoft announced that the Windows Phone store had reached 120,000 apps in October 2012 at a time when iOS had around 750,000. 

Hidden inside Nokia's Lumia 928 announcement was a new detail: The Windows Phone marketplace now has 145,000 apps. In the first half of 2012, the size of the Windows Phone Store doubled to 100,000 apps, which makes the announcement worrying as it shows that growth has dropped, but not too dramatically.

Between November 2011 and October 2012, growth in the Windows Phone marketplace was quick, with 7,300 apps being added per month. More recently, however, that figure has dropped to just 2,800 apps per month. This could be down to developer disinterest as Windows Phone devices struggle to get a foothold in America

This year, Microsoft has managed to entice several big-name apps onto the marketplace, such as Hulu and YouTube. Microsoft is also offering developers cash incentives to bring apps to Windows Phone, but that initiative seems to have failed. Microsoft also developed a "Switch to Windows Phone" app to help users change operating systems more seamlessly. Nokia is also rumored to be chasing Instagram, possibly because of the photo-sharing service's celebrity appeal.

Source: Microsoft via BGR

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This size contest has to stop. Of course it's quality and not quantity ! While WP is still missing a few big name apps, it's getting there. Games are another story tho, the number is so small especially compared to the iPhone, and let's not forget that quite often they're more expensive.

Its not the app amount that matters, it the quality. iOS has tons of apps, but most are junk. Same thing with Android and WP.

Don't care, there are already plenty good apps, people install like 50 max anyway. More important, a high end model with 32gigs of internal storage + a sd card slot and a 2500mah battery is needed! Whatever the apps, people shouldn't have to uninstall some apps in order to install others. Since a good game takes between 300mb and 1500mb, a couple of them plus navigation apps and we're done! What a shame. Playing on a mobile phone is a casual thing: people don't ever complete one game 100% before playing another. That's why it's reasonable to say we should all be able to keep all of our favorite apps and games installed at the same time.

Also, shortcut organisation in the app list is something that they need to sort out ASAP. We have to be able to group them, just like in the windows 8 start screen.

Edited by Levent Cinar, May 11 2013, 10:07pm :

Having the right apps matters most. And Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are 3 of the biggest. MS has Twitter, it's Facebook beta actually copies the excellent First-party iOS and Android app and actually improves it with it's Metro-ness. Instagram still incoming. Once the new Facebook apps is out, things will look up.

A nice music playing app or add the ability to post songs played to facebook,, or add that ability to the xbox music app would be nice.

Adding true BT 4.0 support for low power devices allowing all the fitness peripherals, and therefore, apps to run on WP8 would require a significant update, but would really do wonders. This is actually going to become the preferred peripheral interconnect over Apple's dock connector so this support would be great.

It's not really the raw #'s that matter.

Of course, getting more Xbox games would be great all the time. I really wish MS would help Dino Games get their dungeon crawler Valgard's fate from Zune to the platform. They should just buy the guy. Of course, this was all XNA.

anything I have searched for apps-wise has been there and usually has 2-3 different apps for the same thing some are better than others just like with any app store also, if Microsoft went out of their way to make a switch to windows phone for android so consumers can have all the same apps they are used to I think their store is doing alright.

Only?? How many Apps do people really need? Having used both Android and iPhone it's fair to say that there's a LOT of completely crap Apps making up their numbers.

Windows Phone's store seems at least to be mostly filled with decent Apps, and most of the supposed 'vital' ones. Quality over Quantity.

I couldnt care less abouy quantity. There is an app for everything now and I dont need 10 other clones of it. What I need is the small selection of popular quality apps. And they are now arriving on WP8. It is much more important to have instagram then to have another 700 weather apps to complement the 300 that are already available.

Looking at the graph in the article, it's a bit much to talk about slowing down. It looks like steady progress to me.

Worrying about the number of apps in the marketplace is just stupid. Everyone knows almost all the apps on EVERY platform are total crap. All that matters is that there are the important ones, and WP is getting more of those as time goes on.

I have a WP8 phone and I'm satisfied with the app selection I have. The only one I'd like to have right now is Instagram, but it's mostly out of curiosity 'cause I've never tried that app.

Main disadvantage of developing WP8 application is that you MUST pay 99$ for registering the phone with windowsphone store. You can avoid this payment if you are dreamspark user (student), but for most of the free lance developers 99$ is to much, especially if you want to develop free app and without adds.

RokSiEu said,
Main disadvantage of developing WP8 application is that you MUST pay 99$ for registering the phone with windowsphone store. You can avoid this payment if you are dreamspark user (student), but for most of the free lance developers 99$ is to much, especially if you want to develop free app and without adds.
You need to pay Apple 99$ to. With Microsoft, it's cheaper, because, if you hit the 25k$, you only need to pag 20% instead of 30%.

As a developer this is what is turning me away as an individual developer. Business developers wouldn't care about this though. if it was half the price i might pay up, but there is little return paying up $99.

But for 99$ for apple store you get bigger market share as on windows store. This is the difference.
And I agree with andyardener, for individual developer 99$ is way to much.

SpyderCanopus said,
Do Windows Phone apps run on Windows 8 Metro like iPhone apps run on iPad?

I am also curious to know if when you get an app on your WP8 device does it automatically become available/sync to your Windows RT device like iphone/iPad

No.

Open a Windows Phone app, let say the built-in e-mail or AlphaJAX. Given that the screen size/ resolution of Windows Phone devices and Windows 8/ RT devices are different, could you imagine how will/ should the UI scale?

Imagine, for the built-in e-mail app on Windows 8/ RT: you see a page with list of e-mail titles and part of content only, you need to click on an e-mail to read the content. Compare it to the existing Mail app on Windows 8: List of folders on left, list of e-mails in middle, mail content on right. Which one is better?

Imagine playing Windows Phone version of AlphaJAX on Windows 8/ RT without any modifications, what do you see on the first page? A list of items like my game, achievements, leaderboard, etc, and nothing else. So much space is left unused.

People ask for quality, and yet asking to run phone apps (designed for small screen) on tablet (with larger screen) without optimization? Why?

Do it like iOS does it. Put the little phone app in small window with an expand button in the bottom. It's like emulation. Windows RT should run WP8 apps. They're both ARM.

SpyderCanopus said,
Do it like iOS does it. Put the little phone app in small window with an expand button in the bottom. It's like emulation. Windows RT should run WP8 apps. They're both ARM.
Windows and Linux ar bot 86x, but do they run each others apps?

What's so hard about offering two UIs, one designed for WP8, one for W8... In reality it would be as simple as that...

"What's so hard about offering two UIs, one designed for WP8, one for W8... In reality it would be as simple as that..."

Oh, you think so? You think it would be that 'simple'? Funny.
In reality - the devices are actually two different things. Apps between the platforms are able to share some similar code but the devices are completely different. Having an app run in a 'little window' is awful. iphone apps on ipad are awful and android phone apps on tablets are awful. Developers can reuse portions of the back end code, changing a few lines and adding a few more to make use of expanded desktop and tablet features, but the UIs are much more complex in those environment. It would be nice if apps could auto-detect/share/discount purchases between their marketplaces though.

Wasn't it Bill Gates who said "Measuring software productivity by lines of code is like measuring progress on an airplane by how much it weighs."

I think using quantity of apps to determine the growth of a platform is a deeply flawed metric. I'm an Android user, and have been for nearly 5 years, and I'll admit outright that the majority of the apps on the Play store are garbage. A platform could have ten decent apps, and if those ten apps were what everyone used, there'd be no problem with having an App store with only ten apps. It'd still be better than the platform with 10 million apps that was missing one of those ten apps.

There is still a problem though. Microsoft's inability to entice developers like Instagram to the platform is hurting them because it's never going to be able to bring in the users that require Instagram. That's what they need to concentrate on. Screw the idea that 2800 apps a month is BAD, and concentrate on getting those big names to develop apps for the platform.

It's not the quantity that counts, it's the quality, and so far, almost every major first party app is available, that's all people should ever need.

For developers:
-small market.
-crippled marketplace.
-erratic ads system.
-weird software approval process (that force us to cheat).
-And fragmented market, it is shocking to know that windows phone application does not work in Windows rt.

Edited by Brony, May 11 2013, 2:16pm :

> small market

True.

> crippled marketplace

What are you referring to?

> erratic ads system

You can use any advertisement system.

> weird software approval process (that force us to cheat)

What are you referring to? Any source?

> And fragmented market, it is shocking to know that windows phone application does not work in Windows rt.

What? Do you mean every Android apps running on a phone also runs on Android tablet for sure too? By the way, Windows Phone and Windows RT target different devices, imagine running Windows Store apps on Windows Phone, how do you scale down the page size of the app flawlessly? Also if you can run Windows Phone apps on Windows RT, could you imagine how much space will be wasted/ become blank because developers are not assumed their apps will be displayed on such larger screen? At least part of the codes or libraries (business logic, etc.) can be ported easily. I would say forcing Windows Phone app running on Windows RT (and vice versa) would lead to poor UX.

with the introduction of the low end (low-end only by definition) Windows phones for less then $150, the masses will finally start to accept wp8 and then you will see the flood of solid mainstream apps. Can't see why anyone would buy an Android or Iphone based handset unless they had to, that being the cheap Droid handsets selling with 2.2 for $100-150, models for $500+, or a used iphone when a real quality logical, user freindly windows handset can be had for cheaper. Yes I use an iphone, only now becasue i need certain apps that my clients use. soon as windows gets those apps, myself and my people will be switching to WP8. Not because of its better then IOS, but rather just cheaper for same great experience.

Might want to reconsider that statement. How long did they poor money into Xbox before it took off for them for example Microsoft can wait it out. I'm sure people said Google were having a laugh when going up against Apple to.

yowanvista said,
It's only a matter of time before the WP ship sinks.

You do realize that Windows Phone is the only platform other than Android that is consistently growing market share. As a matter of fact it's starting to see large growth in the US on the order of 1% a month so far this year.

On top of that MS is making billions off of Android sales and Nokia has invested their whole company in the platform. Huawei and Nokia are selling $100 Windows Phones off contract at Walmart. The platform is going to increase substantial share.

The app situation is better than ever. The outside perception is false. Windows Phone is attracting all of the big name apps now. We just saw Pandora, Tumblr, Hulu, as well as new Twitter, Facebook, YouTube apps. Gameloft is delivering high end games like Modern Combat 4, NOVA 3, and Asphalt 7. Everyday I'm seeing more and more major companies announcing apps.

Anyone who thinks MS will abandon the phone market is so absolutely clueless. You might as well be saying they will leave the tablet market too. So foolish.

yowanvista said,
It's only a matter of time before the WP ship sinks.

Personal opinion is I doubt it. Microsoft's past history has seen them lose billions to XBox and Bing and still keep going in order to keep a competitor from dominating a field on them. They may not even break even until WP9

Well recently they've been getting some big name apps, so I'm more interested in that. Still waiting on an official F1 app and Mint though.

I think Store has enough software to please average smartphone user. Time to concentrate back on core Office and voice functionality. There are problems with connecting Windows Phone and RT devices to MS Exchange servers via OWA while there is absolutely no problem for iPhone and iPad which is real shame. Voice functionality need some slight improvements to reach personal voice assistant functionality well beyond Siri. Well it would be great to have it also with Windows RT.

Windows shall never surpass iOS and Android with mobile gaming. Meanwhile there are strong odds to maintain absolute dominance throughout business functionality.

**** games and social networking. We have it well enough.

coderchi said,
Exchange issues? I am in IT and am responsible for several sites and never had an issue with exchange sync.

Perhaps the post should have read "has connection issue's when you have SFA idea what you're doing."

iPhone works perfectly with OWA of our corporate server while if I try to set up my Windows Phone and Windows RT tablet connection never occurs.

The article makes it seem like you struggle to find apps. Some big ones are currently missing, but I get by just fine.

My opinion I know.

Nashy said,
The article makes it seem like you struggle to find apps. Some big ones are currently missing, but I get by just fine.

My opinion I know.

Must agree here, this article is half hearted, basically ignores some very important reasons why this happens which are very obvious and negates the fact that the store is growing still.

Back in early 2012 we have the entry of Nokia into the WP fold which brought a lot of attention and attracted a lot of developers from the symbian camp. So it should be obvious the growth at that time was an 'in course sprint' so to say. Right now we're seeing a steady increase of apps so what's the point of this article which at best is biased and seems to spread mis-information and half truths.

As has been pointed out, besides a handful 'big' apps I would not know what apps would be so crucial. And if you take a quick peek at the iOS and Android stores the good app - crap app ration seems far worse to be honest..

They've announced a lot of bigger apps more recently like fitbit and a bunch of banks and financial institutions, hulu, Pandora etc.... I personally think that's way more important than having a certain high number of general apps.

Minecraft on iOS is absolutely awful, however on Xbox it is actually very good, anyhow, I don't think Notch is going to endorse any support for any Microsoft product with the number "8" in it!

HawkMan said,
why owuld you want minecraft on a phone....

personally, why would you want minecraft at all, but still, on a phone.....

Despite being £4.99 its one of most popular mobile games. A lot of people want to play it.

HawkMan said,
why owuld you want minecraft on a phone....

personally, why would you want minecraft at all, but still, on a phone.....

Why, again do you think it's your right to tell others what they can and cannot enjoy?

ingramator said,
Minecraft on iOS is absolutely awful, however on Xbox it is actually very good, anyhow, I don't think Notch is going to endorse any support for any Microsoft product with the number "8" in it!

Darn shame Notch is like that, but i'm willing to bet he won't have much of a choice once the new xbox launches.. minecraft on xbl has ben absolutely amazing, and no sane business person would waste next gen opportunity as lucrative as what they have with ms.

Exactly; there is lots of facebook, youtube etc. clones that are trying to convince people about genuineness, apps (mostly chinese) without translations, pointless ones with picture slideshows, battery/quick settings tiles...

The fact is that they are at least "apps" and all of them passed responsiveness, exception and user interface criteria before being passed into the store. This maintains at least a base functionality and experience for apps.

ingramator said,
The fact is that they are at least "apps" and all of them passed responsiveness, exception and user interface criteria before being passed into the store. This maintains at least a base functionality and experience for apps.

responsiveness = load the apps quickly or simply put a splash screen.

insanelyapple said,
Exactly; there is lots of facebook, youtube etc. clones that are trying to convince people about genuineness, apps (mostly chinese) without translations, pointless ones with picture slideshows, battery/quick settings tiles...

Or worst, clones of a simple application duplicated several times. For example :
Weather in Sidney, Weather in NY and such.

Also, the search feature in the marketplace is awful, MS should feel ashamed of it.

ingramator said,
The fact is that they are at least "apps" and all of them passed responsiveness, exception and user interface criteria before being passed into the store. This maintains at least a base functionality and experience for apps.

Just because an app has good responsiveness, exception handling and UI doesn't mean that it isn't crap. A polished turd isn't any less of a turd.

Majesticmerc said,

Just because an app has good responsiveness, exception handling and UI doesn't mean that it isn't crap. A polished turd isn't any less of a turd.

Well it does make it better, you obviously haven't seen the crap on Android, let alone that half the stuff are skins and theme packs.

ingramator said,

Well it does make it better, you obviously haven't seen the crap on Android, let alone that half the stuff are skins and theme packs.

I've seen plenty of my share of garbage on Android, but just because an app has a user interface that meets Microsofts requirements doesn't magically make it a good app. Or is form over function really how we perceive things nowadays?

"Oh it's just another weather app that only works for a single city, but the UI really makes up for it."

There have been a lot of Internet outages in India lately. Perhaps that has slowed the flow of sh!tware into the app store.