Microsoft Promises 100,000 Windows 8 Apps Before the End of the Year

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by Andy Patrizio

A Microsoft vice president said there would be 100,000 apps for Windows 8 within 90 days after the operating system launches on October 25, which would be an extraordinary jump from the 3,000 or so currently in the Windows Store.

Keith Lorizio, vice-president of U.S. sales and marketing at Microsoft told Beet.tv, that Microsoft is “expecting to aggressively pursue 100,000-plus apps in the first three months” Windows 8 is available, and that Microsoft is “putting millions of dollars against that effort.”

Now it could be he is factoring in classic Explorer/Win32 apps, which would be an easy thing to do. There’s millions of apps now on places like CNet’s Download.com and Tucows.com. But new apps seems like a stretch. Microsoft declined to further elaborate on Lorizio’s comments.

“This is one of those things that sounds like marketing hype. Can they do it? Yeah. Are you going to want to use most of the apps? Probably not,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst with The Enderle Group.

Windows Store for Windows 8

Microsoft, however, has an ace up its sleeve: the Windows Phone marketplace. There are more than 110,000 apps on the market for Windows Phone 7, some of which will copy right over to ARM-based Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT devices without even needing a recompile. The rest will need a simple recompile and run on all platforms.

“Clearly that’s the low-hanging fruit. They will come straight across for the ARM version. A port between Windows Phone and Windows 8 would be the easiest way to get to 100,000 apps. The reason Microsoft went this route is so developers could write for all three platforms at once,” said Enderle.

Andy Green, president of ACME AtronOmatic, LLC, said developing on the three Windows platforms – ARM, x86 32-bit, and x86-64 – is as simple as making target selections when making a compile.

Green’s company has been porting a smartphone weather app, MyRadar, to other platforms and said all that had to be done was recode portions of the app for Windows 8 itself. Now he has one codebase but can target all three hardware platforms, covering the phone, tablets and desktops all at once and using Visual Studio 2012.

“We only had to do a little recoding to run on Windows 8 in general. The stuff will immediately code to ARM and x86. If you write for Windows 8, then the platform dependency doesn’t matter anymore,” he said.

“From any developer standpoint, it would be great to develop one app and run it across all platforms. I think they might not be there yet, there’s still a few differences between the phone and Windows 8, but the base code should be able to run with a little modification on the phones and tablets and the desktop,” he said.

In contrast, iOS “has been a huge pain in the butt. It’s a lot more low level and tedious at getting things done. If we were to develop this app for MacOS, it would be a whole new app,” he added.

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