What's that ditty about the kid so nasty that when ransomed the kidnappers end up paying the parents to take him back? That kind of describes Microsoft's platform problem -- paying developers $100 per app submitted and accepted for either the Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8 store. Surely Apple and Google don't need to take such a rash approach.
You think I'm going to rake Microsoft, right? Not in the least. This is exactly what the company should do -- jumpstart the ecosystem. With smartphones and tablets choking the life out of PC sales, Android and iOS huge stores of applications, Windows Phone's tiny global market share and Windows 8 marking a major desktop architectural transition, Microsoft must do something. This short-term program is sensible and appropriately timed.
Twentieth in a series. Windows Store has seen another strong week in terms of new apps that found their way into the store. The app count of the U.S. store is currently 32,552 apps in total, an increase of 1,104 apps over last week; 25,062 of those apps are free to download and install, an increase of 927 apps in the last seven days. Paid apps saw an increase by 177 apps this week to a total of 7,490 apps.
The Yahoo Mail app received a much needed update this week introducing support for new languages, the ability to add, edit and delete folders, and to search for words in emails in the account.
Nineteenth in a series. Welcome to this week's episode of our ongoing series about some of the best new apps that released this week for the Windows 8 operating system.
The app count grew to 31,448 apps in the US Windows Store, which is an increase of 1,149 apps in total; 824 of those apps are listed as free in the store while the remaining 325 apps are listed commercial applications or desktop programs listed in Store.
Windows apps that you run on Windows 8 are limited to the Start screen environment by default. Here you can run them in full screen, or attached to a side of the screen so that they use 1/3 or 2/3 of the screen. What you cannot do is run them in windowed mode on the desktop.
Attempts have been made in the past to bring that extra functionality to Windows 8 in the form of third-party applications. One of them, RetroUI Pro does so, but the implementation is fairly limited.
Eighteenth in a series. The US Windows Store slipped past the 30,000 applications mark this week and is now listing a total of 30,299 free and paid apps to Windows 8 users. While that is certainly a milestone, week-over-week growth of applications has slowed down once again considerably this week.
Only 585 new apps were listed in the store this week, almost a 50-percent drop from last week's 1,049 new applications. Of those, 384 are listed as free in the store, while the remaining 201 are paid applications.
Seventeenth in a series. The Windows 8 app store is picking up pace again. New apps this week almost doubled in comparison to last week. A total of 1,049 new apps found their way into Windows Store -- of which 826 were listed as free to install and use and 224 as paid apps. It will be interesting to see if this is the beginning of an uptick in terms of new apps in the store or if things will dry off again in the coming weeks.
Microsoft did update a couple of first-party applications this week. Just in is the Skype update, which enables Windows 8 users to transfer files using the client, a feature that has been an integral part of the desktop app for a very long time.
Sixteenth in a series. Windows Store's slow but steady application growth continues this week with the addition of 610 new apps in the US store. This brings the total listed to 28,665. Of those, 22,101 free and 6,563 paid. It is not clear why there is one application missing when you add free and paid apps.
The growth is slowing down if you look at the recent performance. Two weeks ago, 970 new apps were listed in Windows Store, one week ago that number dropped to 773, and this week we see another drop to 610 new apps. It will be interesting to see if the downwards trend continues or if there will be a recovery in the coming weeks.
Mozilla announced back in October that it would release a Metro Modern UI version of Firefox. At the time, the company released a "preview" version that was code named "Elm" which was an offshoot of the Nightly builds that the company produces for those users who wish to live on the bleeding edge of technology.
The day has finally arrived where that test build has graduated to an actual Nightly build. Yesterday evening Mozilla's Asa Dotzler announced that "preliminary Metro Firefox development work arrived at mozilla-central, the source code repository that feeds the Firefox Nightly channel".
There has been a lot of news recently about Surface Pro. The new tablet made quite a splash over the weekend, but the jury still is out about the real success of the launch. However, Bluestacks is interested enough to bring its wares to the new platform and carry 750,000 Android apps along.
That may sound like a nice gesture towards Microsoft, but it also represents somewhat of a dig at the company. In fact, the website launched by Bluestacks is titled Get your Apps Back. The site even has a headline -- Missing your apps on Windows 8? While a dig at the lack of apps proliferating the new Windows Store, it is also a nice little bonus for Surface Pro early-adopters and other Windows 8 users.
Yesterday it appeared that WinZip for Windows 8 app was now available for free. Which would have represented a fairly swift change of direction, as it’s not even three months since the app first appeared in the Windows Store with a price tag of $7.99.
But apparently this is not the case. The Windows 8 store may label it as free, and you won’t be told otherwise on installation, but it seems the app is only free for a 15 day trial, after which point you’ll need to subscribe for the same $7.99 a year.
Fifteenth in a series. Several important applications received updates in the past seven days. Adobe updated its Reader application for Windows 8 and even changed the name of the application to Adobe Reader Touch. Microosft, too, released updates for several of its applications, including the Bing, which now includes video search results.
In another interesting turn of events, WinZip decided to remove the price tag from the company's Windows 8 app of the same name. The application, previously available for $7.99 is now available free.
Fourteenth in a series. Microsoft continues to publish updates for the apps that ship with Windows 8 natively. Both the finance and weather application have been updated this week. However, it is not clear what changed as Microsoft did not update the release notes yet.
As far as total numbers of applications go: the Windows Store in the US lists 21,208 free apps and 6,074 paid apps as of this morning for a total of 27,282 apps. That's an increase of 970 apps this week, which falls in line with past performances. While we have seen slower weeks, app numbers consistently grow by about a 1,000 each week.
Thirteenth in a series. Microsoft released the company's fiscal second-quarter results on January 24 and to the surprise of many the company's Windows division did well despite PC shipments being down during the same period.
Windows Store has recovered from last week's low number of new store apps. This week, 928 new apps were listed in the operating system's US store, an increase of more than 31 percent over last week. Free apps, on the other hand, only increased by 136 this week while paid apps made a huge jump to 5,801 from 5,011 the week before.
Windows 8's new Start screen evokes many emotions from customers, with most falling on either the love or hate side with almost no middle ground. However, one thing that can be agreed on is that the screen has no shortage of information. Users are bombarded with messages from Facebook, email, weather and countless other endlessly updating tiles. Now Microsoft has added one more to the perhaps overloaded mix.
Today the company announced it is pushing an update to the SkyDrive app for Windows 8 that will bring the live tile features to the cloud storage and sharing platform.