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Can the Windows Store possibly be ready by Oct. 26?

Brad Chacos | Oct. 2, 2012
When legions of PC users dip into Windows 8 for the very first time in late October, they’ll be greeted by a Start screen that only runs what Microsoft is calling “Windows 8 apps”—touch-optimized programs designed for the new operating system’s live tile interface.

These content problems could turn into an existential threat for ARM processor-based Windows RT tablets, which only run Windows 8 apps and can't utilize the software thats now classified as desktop applications. The fewer Windows 8 apps available, the less appealing Windows RT tabletslike Microsofts own Surface RT tabletbecome.

"The most important thing Microsoft can do for the Windows 8 launch is to launch with 5,000 high-quality apps," says Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. "As the industry learned from the failed consumer tablet launches of the Motorola XOOM, HP Touchpad and Blackberry PlayBook, the number of quality apps at launch does matter."

Are the available apps any good?

A lack of quantity can be somewhat mitigated by an abundance of quality. Unfortunately, the quality level of the available Windows 8 apps is just as troubling as the Stores low inventory.

Simply put, a lot of must-have apps aren't available yet. In fact, most Windows 8 apps currently exposed are simple games or uninspiring programs with names like "Girl Farts" and "Let's Speak Beckinese!" The first sign of trouble appears in the Windows Store's Spotlight section: Are apps like "Periodic Table" and "Disk Falcon" really the best and brightest Microsoft has to offer one month before launch?

To be fair, Windows 8 isn't totally devoid of top-tier offerings. Today you can click on the Windows Store tile and find Wikipedia, Slacker Radio, eBay, StumbleUpon, Evernote, iHeart Radio and the Kindle reader. As for gaming apps, youll find Cut the Rope and Fruit Ninja. (Don't be fooled by the Torchlight app, though. It's a flashlight tool, not the game.) Geeks will also be pleased to find Windows 8 apps from Newegg, Kaspersky, Norton and Splashtop Remote Desktop, as well as several nifty (and unofficial) XKCD apps.

All that said, the missing apps are glaring omissions.

As of press time, there's no Facebook app. There's no Twitter app. There's no YouTube app. There's no CNN app. There's no IMDB app. There's no Dropbox app. There's no Netflix app. There's no Hulu app. There's no ESPN app. There's no MLB at Bat app. There's no YouTube, Google Maps or Gmail apps.

The list goes on, and there's no indication as to whether those critical apps and other essential downloads will be available when the Windows Store officially launches. Some apps may seem like no-brainers for inclusionFacebook has a strong relationship with Microsoft, while Netflix and Dropbox seemingly appear on every platform on the planet. But the only thing we know for certain is that most of the big names simply can't be found in the Windows Store yet.

We reached out to the developers of several top-shelf apps that have yet to appear in the Windows Store to determine if more big-name Windows 8 apps are forthcoming, or possibly even already completed and just biding their time until launch.


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