As competitors like RIM and Nokia scramble to emulate the success and efficiency of the iTunes App Store, Microsoft is givng new meaning to the phrase, “Imitation it the sincerest form of flattery.”
Earlier today, Microsoft divulged new information about its own efforts to develop an app store for Windows Mobile devices, and so far, the details are remarkably similar to Apple’s model. Much like Apple, sales in the Windows Mobile store will net developers 70% of proceeds while Microsoft will take 30% of sales. Also, free applications won’t cost developers anything to distribute. Electronista also notes that “The company has also established similar terms for app licensing. Developers pay a yearly $99 fee that will let them publish five apps.” Developers can already start coding for upcoming Windows Mobile 6.5 devices, though actual app submissions won’t go ‘live’ until sometime late this summer.
I don’t bring up Microsoft’s app store to bring up the tired “Microsoft is copying Apple” argument, but rather as a means of showing that the success of Apple’s model has been so overwhelming, that competitors can’t help but learn from the path Apple has already paved.
Clearly, Windows Mobile is in dire straights no matter what Microsoft would have you believe. Windows Mobile by all accounts seems underwhelming, and devices running Windows Mobile 7 won’t be available until 2010. Meanwhile, Microsoft continues to lose market share to the iPhone, Android phones, and BlackBerry phones. Not to mention, the much-hyped Palm Pre will most likely debut before Windows Mobile 6.5 devices even become available.
Microsoft is in a very sticky situation. It’s entire business model is essentially based on being all things to all types of consumers (enterprise and average joes). This model is quickly becoming obsolete, especially in the smartphone market, and if Microsoft doesn’t do something drastic, it will have to learn the hard way that when you try to please everyone, you typically end up pleasing no one.