Microsoft app store in the works?

November 10th, 2008

Having witnessed the barnstorming success of Apple’s iPhone App Store, Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer says the Big M wants to build its own.

Just a few months ago Microsoft let slip plans to develop an Apple style App Store for its own phones, called “Skymarket.” The plans were accidentally made public by a job ad for a ‘Senior Product Manager’ to launch Skymarket in 2009.

Two months on Ballmer seems a little coy on the matter.

“I actually will agree that there’s some good work, particularly at Facebook and also with the iPhone, where both of those companies have made it easier for developers to distribute their applications,” Ballmer said, showing some rare admiration for Apple.

Although he did hint a similar service would be coming to Windows Mobile soon. “We debated long and hard before the [Professional Developers Conference] whether we ought to disclose some of the things that we’ve got in progress,” Ballmer said.

And just when we thought he was going to spill the beans: “We decided the answer was ‘Not ready to talk about those yet,’”

But he did reveal something, saying: “but fear not, we’re hard at work, and you’ll see some of the benefits with some of the concepts, particularly Facebook’s.”

Microsoft had earlier developed a Facebook-style social platform called “TownSquare”, which was tested within the company.

Perhaps Microsoft plans to tie in social networking more with its own online store, or build Facebook into Windows Mobile as standard. We know 3 is about to unveil its own Facebook phone, so anything is possible.

What do you think? Could an app store from the Big M really compete with the iPhone’s App Store? Have your say in the comments section!

Out TBC | £TBC | Microsoft (via Computer World)

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