Windows Phone: a year in the Marketplace

Microsoft’s ‘rebooted’ Windows Phone operating system went on sale a year ago, launching across a handful of handsets, and with just a couple of thousand apps in its app store, the Marketplace. Just a few days ago, we reported that the Marketplace has since grown to over 40,000 apps.

With the help of data released by app store analysts Distimo, one year on from Windows Phone's launch, we take a look at some of the data from the Marketplace to see how it has developed over the last twelve months, and what's next for Microsoft's mobile ecosystem. (All data are correct to October 2011.)


Overview 

While there’s plenty of noise across tech media and the blogosphere about Windows Phone becoming ‘the third ecosystem’, it’s not there yet. The Windows Phone Marketplace is actually now the fifth largest app store, behind Apple’s eponymous App Store, Google’s Android Market, the Nokia Ovi Store and BlackBerry App World.

However, the Marketplace is growing steadily, with an average of 1,300 new paid applications a month, and 1,650 free apps a month being added; around 700 new publishers join the Marketplace each month too. Windows Phone is now available in 35 countries (up from 17 at launch), but the Marketplace experience, and availability of apps, varies considerably among these markets.


Regional highlights

The Marketplace is most active (by volume of app downloads) in the US, where 101,000 free downloads and 20,000 paid downloads are made every day across the top 300 apps. To put this figure into perspective, 43 times more free downloads and 16 times more paid downloads are made by iPhone users every day in the US across the top 300 apps. Yikes.

Also troubling is that of the 20,000 daily paid downloads, around 80% of these are actually trials of paid-for apps. Therefore, just 4,000 downloads among these top 300 apps actually generate revenue for developers each day in the US.

Germany, the UK, France and Italy are the next largest markets (in that order) by app download volumes, but the actual volumes in these markets – and therefore the revenues generated for developers from these downloads – are significantly lower than those in the US.

5.9% of apps are available in just one country; the US has 1361 such apps. At the other end of the scale, Portugal, Colombia, South Africa and Chile have no apps unique to their respective markets.

More significantly, perhaps, almost 47% of apps are available only in the original 17 countries in which the Marketplace was made available, indicating that a large proportion of developers still haven’t updated their apps to make them available to the 18 newer nations added to Windows Phone with Mango. Just one-third of all apps are now available in all 35 countries.


Popular categories and apps 

By some margin, the most popular category across both paid and free apps is games. 33% of the top 100 free apps and 54% of the top 100 paid-for apps are games, when viewed across all 35 Marketplace countries.

Different proportions apply to some countries, however. In the US and Australia, 50% of the top 100 free apps are games, well above the global average; for Brazil, the Netherlands and Norway, this figure is below 20%. Among the top 100 paid apps, games represent 64% of downloads in the UK, whereas this figure is less than 10% in Brazil and South Korea. I guess we Brits don’t mind paying for a bit of fun. *cough*

Tools & Productivity, Entertainment, and Music & Video are other popular categories across all countries.

A quick breakdown of the most popular free and paid-for apps in the US last month:


 

Wrap-up

In many ways, there's no denying that Microsoft has come a long way in expanding the Windows Phone Marketplace over the last twelve months. It's no mean feat that they've gone from launching with a fairly narrow portfolio of apps to over 40,000 in one year, and it's not all fart apps and flashlights either - big names like Amazon, British Airways, Groupon, Bank of America, Sky News and many others now recognise that Windows Phone is a significant player in the rapidly growing world of mobile applications.

There's an inevitability to Windows Phone's eventual ascension to becoming the third ecosystem, but that has much to do with the demise of those that currently lie ahead of it. Symbian is something of a lame duck which, while still quacking away, is doing so on borrowed time, as Nokia has all but abandoned its long-term commitments to it; the Ovi Store will therefore cease to exist at some point in the not too distant future, and as a result it won't grow much larger than its current 50,000 or so apps.

Meanwhile, BlackBerry desperately struggles to assert its relevance in the market, and as RIM's share price plummets - with investors and customers alike rapidly losing interest - the number of developers willing to spend time creating software for the faltering platform will also dwindle.

So it looks like Windows Phone is guaranteed to take the third place in the mobile wars (without even having to try that hard) - but what happens then? Its not encouraging to see figures like those above, suggesting that as few as 4,000 downloads per day - across the entire United States - are generating revenues for developers. It's all well and good to be the third ecosystem, but if Windows Phone's app sales continue to lag so far behind its competitors, that bronze medal won't be worth very much.

The number of developers is increasing for now, with potential interest in the platform among app makers at an all time high. But rival platforms are growing much faster, and developers will go where the money is, where the users are. They won't wait indefinitely for Microsoft to grow the reach of its ecosystem beyond the flat and unimpressive device sales figures seen so far. The launch of Nokia's first Windows Phones will be crucial in getting more devices into the hands of end-users - but Android and iPhone are already so entrenched in the consciousness of mobile users, that this will be an exceptionally difficult task, even with handsets as widely admired and praised as the new Lumia 800.

Windows Phone has come a long way in a short time, but Microsoft now faces the unusual task of fighting a long, bitter battle just to make its third place count for something. With mobile poised to become the dominant arena for computing and communications, it's a battle that Microsoft can't afford to lose.
 

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smooth3006 said,
Long live winmo!

Its really funny to see when winmo was in market, people hated it, and now they miss it.

smooth3006 said,
Long live winmo!

When it was here, all that people ranted was that Microsoft needs to step up their game and they need to innovate in order to compete with iOS.
And now when they have actually innovated something, people are crying for that old winmo?
Seriously?

Muhammad Farrukh said,

When it was here, all that people ranted was that Microsoft needs to step up their game and they need to innovate in order to compete with iOS.
And now when they have actually innovated something, people are crying for that old winmo?
Seriously?

What is the surprise? If the "innovation" detract from the overall experience people, actually users that bought the device, will voice their disappointment.
Believe it or not there are a lot of users that needs a good calendar more than integration with FB.

Muhammad Farrukh said,

When it was here, all that people ranted was that Microsoft needs to step up their game and they need to innovate in order to compete with iOS.
And now when they have actually innovated something, people are crying for that old winmo?
Seriously?

What is the surprise? If the "innovation" detract from the overall experience people, actually users that bought the device, will voice their disappointment.
Believe it or not there are a lot of users that needs a good calendar more than integration with FB.

Fritzly said,

What is the surprise? If the "innovation" detract from the overall experience people, actually users that bought the device, will voice their disappointment.
Believe it or not there are a lot of users that needs a good calendar more than integration with FB.

In no way, does Windows Phone detracts the overall experience.
I, personally, know people who were the true defination of Winmo fanboys and they 'all' loved Windows Phone and how it simplifies the experience.
Sure, everyone has a different taste but I don't think that Windows Phone is a step behind Windows Mobile. It, in my opinion, is ahead of the competition.
And I don't see a problem with the calendar. What seems to be the problem with it?

Muhammad Farrukh said,

In no way, does Windows Phone detracts the overall experience.
I, personally, know people who were the true defination of Winmo fanboys and they 'all' loved Windows Phone and how it simplifies the experience.
Sure, everyone has a different taste but I don't think that Windows Phone is a step behind Windows Mobile. It, in my opinion, is ahead of the competition.
And I don't see a problem with the calendar. What seems to be the problem with it?

Well just to list some:

Lack of a viewable (zooming) month calendar

No Week calendar

No way to categorize tasks and appointments

Only two weeks of previous records are retained in WP7 phones

No desktop sync

if you have multiple appointments, either "all day" and specific time set ones the former do not show up in the day view.

Note that all these features are available in WM 6.X.X and that is the reason why I keep using both my HD 2 and my HD 7.

You're wrong on most counts. If I'm in monthly view of the calendar simply pressing on the day zooms it into detail. As for the week calendar, there's an app for that, which marries up nicely. In fact, it's live tile is so perfect I never actually OPEN the app itself. I have little use for tasks, so I'm not sure why you'd categorize them. I use the color coding for appointments, but that's as far as I see a value to any sort of categorization of appointments. Although the DEFAULT records retention is 2 weeks, you can set it differently for EACH account, as short as just 2 days or as far as infinite. There IS desktop sync, it simply uses the Connector, which means you are NOT a slave to one desktop. It works PERFECTLY and I'm able to sync to any and all devices--I have it working on both my notebook and my desktop. Seamless. You clearly don't know how to read the calendar. I have MANY days that have multiple appointments, including "all day" and short term. All the "all day" appointments are indicated by a line at the top of the day view that says something like "3 all day appointments". Simple flick to the right shows you ALL your appointments that day including the "all day" ones, which you can then look at the details of each. You need to learn how to READ.

Fritzly said,

Well just to list some:

Lack of a viewable (zooming) month calendar

No Week calendar

No way to categorize tasks and appointments

Only two weeks of previous records are retained in WP7 phones

No desktop sync

if you have multiple appointments, either "all day" and specific time set ones the former do not show up in the day view.

Note that all these features are available in WM 6.X.X and that is the reason why I keep using both my HD 2 and my HD 7.

You complain about the calendar cause their is no week view but there is a month and day and agenda view.. You also probably want a week view, 2 hour view, 4 day view, 6 month view, year view.. like come on and stop being a baby

There is tasks. it came with mango so that is a useless complaint

you can zoom the month view to a single day.. just click on the day

their is desktop sync of email, contacts, tasks, onenote, word, powerpoint and so on.. just install the connector to skydrive on your computer..

i have multiple accounts and they all show up in the day view in the calendar if they are all day.. you just need to go to settings and tell edit the settings for that account. set it to sync calendar..

Just to show how silly your post is you bash Windows Phone 7 because its useless compared to WinMo yet you own both?? why not just use winmo and get rid of your WP7??

ScubaDog said,
You're wrong on most counts. If I'm in monthly view of the calendar simply pressing on the day zooms it into detail. As for the week calendar, there's an app for that, which marries up nicely. In fact, it's live tile is so perfect I never actually OPEN the app itself. I have little use for tasks, so I'm not sure why you'd categorize them. I use the color coding for appointments, but that's as far as I see a value to any sort of categorization of appointments. Although the DEFAULT records retention is 2 weeks, you can set it differently for EACH account, as short as just 2 days or as far as infinite. There IS desktop sync, it simply uses the Connector, which means you are NOT a slave to one desktop. It works PERFECTLY and I'm able to sync to any and all devices--I have it working on both my notebook and my desktop. Seamless. You clearly don't know how to read the calendar. I have MANY days that have multiple appointments, including "all day" and short term. All the "all day" appointments are indicated by a line at the top of the day view that says something like "3 all day appointments". Simple flick to the right shows you ALL your appointments that day including the "all day" ones, which you can then look at the details of each. You need to learn how to READ.

All right, let's start:
Clicking on a specific day in the "month" view switch to the "day" view does not zoom on the day; quite different.

I know that there is an app for the week view but, before it was part of the OS itself, now it is an app. This for me is a regression

All Day appointments are indeed grouped therefore I have to tap to see what they are; again with WM they were all listed.

You might not see a lot of value in the color categorization but tons of people do; again I had it before now it is missing.......

Finally I not only know how to read but also how to think............ I do


Lachlan said,

You complain about the calendar cause their is no week view but there is a month and day and agenda view.. You also probably want a week view, 2 hour view, 4 day view, 6 month view, year view.. like come on and stop being a baby

There is tasks. it came with mango so that is a useless complaint

you can zoom the month view to a single day.. just click on the day

their is desktop sync of email, contacts, tasks, onenote, word, powerpoint and so on.. just install the connector to skydrive on your computer..

i have multiple accounts and they all show up in the day view in the calendar if they are all day.. you just need to go to settings and tell edit the settings for that account. set it to sync calendar..

Just to show how silly your post is you bash Windows Phone 7 because its useless compared to WinMo yet you own both?? why not just use winmo and get rid of your WP7??

Sorry I do not cry as a baby........... I also think as an adult though.

Actually I would just like to have BACK "Week view" simple as that and if you would spend some times reading the WP7 related NGs you would discover that a lot of people would like this function back too.

Read better: I mentioned the lack of the ability to CATEGORIZE tasks and appointments; I am very well aware that mango re-introduced the "Task" functionality.

I do not use the connector, I have Exchange. What you seems to misunderstand is that I want back the ability to sync with a desktop and/or through the cloud.

If you have several "All day" appointments they are grouped and not listed one by one as before.

I always hope that MS will improve the OS. BTW I never said it was useless but that it is suffering of some regression compared to WM.

article said,

The Windows Phone Marketplace is actually now the fifth largest app store, behind Apple's eponymous App Store, Google's Android Market, the Nokia Ovi Store and BlackBerry App World.

How is Windows Phone Marketplace behind Blackberry? If I am correct Blackberry has ~20k apps and WP has ~40k.

wolftail said,

How is Windows Phone Marketplace behind Blackberry? If I am correct Blackberry has ~20k apps and WP has ~40k.

BlackBerry App World has over 45,000 apps (I believe it passed that milestone in late September), but that's a slightly contentious figure, as I believe that a large chunk of that figure is taken up with themes and e-books. However, for the metrics used by analysts, these all add up to the 'total number of apps', even though it's somewhat misleading to categorise these as apps in the truest sense - and therefore BB App World remains ahead of Windows Phone, for now at least.

gcaw said,

BlackBerry App World has over 45,000 apps (I believe it passed that milestone in late September), but that's a slightly contentious figure, as I believe that a large chunk of that figure is taken up with themes and e-books. However, for the metrics used by analysts, these all add up to the 'total number of apps', even though it's somewhat misleading to categorise these as apps in the truest sense - and therefore BB App World remains ahead of Windows Phone, for now at least.

they probably include playbook apps as well which is kind of silly since they dont includ windows 7 programs..

gcaw said,

BlackBerry App World has over 45,000 apps (I believe it passed that milestone in late September), but that's a slightly contentious figure, as I believe that a large chunk of that figure is taken up with themes and e-books. However, for the metrics used by analysts, these all add up to the 'total number of apps', even though it's somewhat misleading to categorise these as apps in the truest sense - and therefore BB App World remains ahead of Windows Phone, for now at least.

Non-apps do not count. Just because BB have no other way to deliver that sort of content to their customers doesn't mean they're apps.

Windows Phone IS ahead. BB is dying, wrinkling withering and dying!

If you look at the mobile penetration rate, its a big failure

If you look at the amount Microsoft is putting on the platform there is still hope.
Nokia will have to bring new exciting devices,

otherwise the future will be the same as windows mobile. which is lame....

raindrop said,
If you look at the mobile penetration rate, its a big failure

If you look at the amount Microsoft is putting on the platform there is still hope.
Nokia will have to bring new exciting devices,

otherwise the future will be the same as windows mobile. which is lame....

WP7 is being rolled out the same way that the original Xbox was. MS rolls out to few markets to build up steam then hits as many markets as it can. The market penetration will come. In Canada, the cell providers are to blame for the limited WP7 market. There are hardly any phones to choose from. I had to buy my phone from Kiijii as no stores in my entire city had any.

ahhell said,
In Canada, the cell providers are to blame for the limited WP7 market. There are hardly any phones to choose from. I had to buy my phone from Kiijii as no stores in my entire city had any.

I totally agree. Here in Canada, Our incumbent carriers are RIM's bitches. Now, all the original launch sets are end of life, with nothing to replace them.

Gonna be tough to enter a market when the devices are no longer being sold.

raindrop said,
If you look at the mobile penetration rate, its a big failure

If you look at the amount Microsoft is putting on the platform there is still hope.
Nokia will have to bring new exciting devices,

otherwise the future will be the same as windows mobile. which is lame....

you're an idiot.

Windows Phone is selling like hot cakes since the introduction of the Mango update. Everywhere I go people are using Windows Phone devices. To add to that Nokia Lumia 800 is breaking all sales records.

Windows Phone is DESTROYING Android and iPhone. Windows Phone currently has 40% market share. Within 6 months it will have over 80%.

england_fanboy said,
Windows Phone is selling like hot cakes since the introduction of the Mango update. Everywhere I go people are using Windows Phone devices. To add to that Nokia Lumia 800 is breaking all sales records.

Ha ha ha! I own a WP7 phone and I don't know anybody else that has one!

Windows Phone is DESTROYING Android and iPhone. Windows Phone currently has 40% market share. Within 6 months it will have over 80%.

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