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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.

Instapaper and Facebook never replied to our queries. Pandora and SoundHound refused to comment about their plans for Windows 8. Gameloft and WorldMate said they plan to be in the Windows Store, but wouldn't state whether their apps will be available on October 26.

A Google spokesperson simply said, "Our goal is to give users a seamless, beautiful experience for users across Google products on any device." A Windows 8 Chrome app is definitely in the works, however.

Most companies are keeping their cards close to the chestbut not all of them. Several app makers spoke more candidly, and their feedback could shed light on why the Windows Store isn't overflowing with apps.

It just doesnt pay to play

So where do the more talkative developers stand? While most agreed that Windows 8 development is surprisingly easy, some are holding back because other platforms have much more momentumand much more consumer supportand are therefore simply more lucrative.

Indeed, it really comes down to chasing the money. Why develop for the promise of Windows 8 riches tomorrow, when you can make real money today via iOS and Android sales? To this extent, Windows 8 must fall in line at the back of the development queue. Having an abundance of apps available on October 26th is a major focus for Microsoft, but that doesn't mean it's a priority for app developers.

"We do have plans to make the Pinball Arcade available for the Windows Store, but were not in a big hurry," said Jay Obernolte of FarSight Studios. "In our opinion, the base of users purchasing apps on the Windows Store is likely to ramp up slowly, so we dont see a benefit to rushing out with an implementation."

TripAdvisor also has no plans to release a Windows 8 app anytime soon, but for a different reason.

"In general, TripAdvisor builds the best experience based on the device type rather than the operating system," says Sanjay Vakil, TripAdvisor's Director of Mobile Product. "Windows 8 provides a challenge in that the user experience needs to conform to different devices: tablets, desktops and laptops."

Rob Enderle predicts that the inclusion of Office in Windows RT tablets could scare off developers who make productivity apps for competing platforms. Jeff Fetchick, the COO of DataViz, confirmed the theory. DataViz produces the well-regarded Documents to Go app for Android, iOS, Blackberry and Palm devices. Fetchick says Microsoft approached Dataviz about porting Documents to Go to Windows 8, but the company declined.

"In the past, we've always chosen to bring our technology to platforms that Microsoft chooses not to. The people who use our software are people who have already bought into Microsoft's Office technology, and they just want to bring it to places that Microsoft won't allow at the time," Fetchick says. "It's our understanding that Office will be found on many Windows machines anyway."


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