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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.

Carolina Milanesi, a Gartner analyst, agrees, saying that the arrival of key apps will be "the main factor" for launch as well as the key to whether Windows RT tablets become studs or a duds in the marketplace. Will we see the key apps on October 26? That's the critical question.

Rob Enderle expects Microsoft to have a few blockbuster apps hidden up its sleeve, given its background as a software company. He also expects Microsoft to focus on app quality going forward, rather than sheer app quantity. That said, Enderle isn't optimistic about the quality level of the third-party apps that will be in the Windows Store on launch day.

"Remember that final touches on the apps don't start until code [is released to manufacturers]. A lot of folks won't even start developing much until the code goes RTM in case Microsoft breaks something that you might depend on," he says. (Windows 8's RTM build wasn't released until August 1.) "So there's a lot of people scrambling just to get apps done Enderle says. There's a good chance some of these apps are going to be pretty raw on launch day, but like on other platforms, you'll receive automatic app updates, so I would expect things to shake out by 30 days after launch."

And so we wait

There's little doubt that Windows 8 will be successful in the long run, if only because the vast majority of PCs puchased after October 26 will include the operating system, and in may ways, the Windows platform is currently too big to fail. Nonetheless, Microsoft's touch-focused inspirationits entire reason for relegating the desktop to second-class status and moving to live tiles and Windows 8 appslies in the booming tablet marketplace. As PC sales flatten, transitioning to mobile is the only way for Microsoft to keep foward momentum.

Will the Windows Store be presentable at launch? Or will it, like the Windows Phone Store, suffer from a scarce app selection and multitudinous missing must-have downloads? Windows RT's near-term success and Microsoft's long-term hopes ride on the answer.

The Windows Store Only has one chance to make a first impression. And now the world waits for October 26 when multiple thousand customers enter Microsofts new marketplace for the very first time.


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