A job listing unveils Microsoft is planning to open a application store for its Windows 7 Mobile operating system - similar to Apple's iTunes App Store.
One strong point for Windows Mobile has always been strong third-party application support. Microsoft claims it has 18,000 applications for its mobile OS. However, with this strength comes a weakness. While Microsoft has heavily encouraged mobile developers, it has failed to develop a distribution system for the software and thus misses out on key revenue. Perhaps the best example of why this is so significant comes from competitor Apple who has much fewer applications and a much smaller market share, but is cashing in big with its "closed system" application store.
Such a concept is not foreign for Microsoft -- it runs the Zune Marketplace and Xbox Live Marketplace. Now at last, it has unveiled plans to catch up to competitors, such as Apple, by announcing that Windows Mobile 7 will come with an applications store named "Skymarket", through which Microsoft will control the distribution of applications compatible with its OS according to CNET. The move follows Google's announcement last week that it would have a similar store titled Android Market, for its own upcoming phone OS.
Microsoft also posted job ads with the description:
A unique opportunity and time of rapid change in the mobile industry for a senior product manager in the Mobile Communications Services team to drive the launch of a v1 marketplace service for Windows Mobile.