28
Sep 12

What’s the deal with counting Windows Store apps?

I’ve had a few people ask me why I started counting the number of apps. Why should I care? Do I have some sort of vendetta against Microsoft or something?

No. I don’t.

The Windows Store count is what it is. I’m not here to say it’ll trounce iOS. I’m not here to say it’ll be a failure. That doesn’t matter, and little I can or do say will change how Windows 8 does with consumers and corporate customers. My goal in counting was simply to find out what’s going on. How much interest is there among developers.

For my day job, I’m a research analyst who writes about Microsoft. I generally write about SQL Server and SharePoint, but I do write about Windows, Office, Bing, and other subjects too.

The entire Windows 8 development cycle has been largely a black box for me – and as a result, for my readers, who are IT decision makers within some very large-sized companies (that traditionally use a lot of Microsoft software). When it comes to Windows 8 and Windows RT, when you learned about things is when I learned about them (it didn’t always used to be that way). Last year at Build I had a good conversation with a friend – an IT pro – who helps drive Windows decisions within his business. He was already frustrated with the lack of transparency around Windows, and I’ve only seen his frustration grow. You have to understand, this is someone who I worked together with years ago when I was helping build Windows XP (nee Whistler) and he was helping to deploy it within a very, very large company – we had a very different method of information exchange (as Microsoft and a large corporate customer) than Windows 8, and especially Windows RT, presented to most corporate customers

So back in August, when I started thinking out loud with a friend about whether there was a way to get more insight into the state of the store, my intentions were largely to help provide my customers – predominantly corporate customers – with some insight around the Windows Store.

My readers, my co-workers, and my friends in the Microsoft IT space, need insight to help guide their careers and their IT decisions. While Windows 8 will run most/many/all (choose one) Windows 7 applications, it doesn’t include Windows XP mode, has some pretty big user interface changes, and really focuses on touch. So those are issues. But all those aside, the Windows Store then becomes a “nice to have” conversation piece.

But my readers – our customers – some of Microsoft’s most faithful fans – have held iPads at bay for some time within their organizations. For cost, power consumption, weight and many other reasons, Windows RT devices will likely be the first option considered in those scenarios. But these individuals have so little information to guide their decisions around hardware, deployment, licensing, management, etc that anything helps. For example, a friend pointed out that the first link when you Google search for “Windows RT PowerShell” is an article I wrote quite some time ago pondering whether Windows RT would even include PowerShell 3.0 (this absolutely shouldn’t be the first hit for this topic!!!). For this reason, I feel that any insight I can provide to these customers (and any other readers or potential Windows RT buyers as a result) is beneficial.

I never meant any ill will to the Windows team in pointing out the state of the store. My goal in pointing out numbers of apps wasn’t to do a Nelson Muntz “ha-ha” laugh at the Windows Store, nor was it to say “this is amazing, it’s going to smoke all of the other tablet ecosystems. I have no idea, and I generally don’t like to make predictions around unpredictable things.

But my intention was to see if I could gather this information in a useful, usable way, and when I found that I could, my goal was to share that – to inform others – heck, to hopefully incentivize more devs to come along and give it a shot. This is a new ecosystem, a new platform, and a brave new world for Microsoft. As I’ve said before – it’s anybody’s game.

As I mentioned on the WinAppUpdate twitter feed the other day. I’m going to change the focus of WinAppUpdate – the site and the Twitter feed. As long as I can continue to do so, I will provide updates, likely every Wednesday, about how the store is doing, what the top categories look like, etc – because I think that info is interesting to everyone.

But I just as much plan to delve into the quality of the apps. Who is using the breadth of the charm bar, app bar, etc, who is providing something new and novel that you can’t get anywhere else.


28
Sep 12

What’s the deal with counting Windows Store apps?

I just posted an entry on my “regular” blog that relates to this site. Thought some of you might want to read it.

What’s the deal with counting Windows Store apps?


26
Sep 12

Windows Store: A second wind

It’s been a few days since I posted an update on the growth of the store. Yesterday Mary Jo Foley posted an article with some of my recent stats, and Alex Wilhelm posted a bit more cynical take. Today, fellow EXMSFT, Charlie Kindel posted on his blog about how important it is that the growth of the Windows 8 Store (or any sustainable ecosystem) be organic, not subsidized.

First: I’m happy that there is so much interest in these statistics. I can’t emphasize enough that this is all “seat-of-the-pants” numbers that I believe to be reasonably accurate.

Second: There’s been another second wind of apps appearing. Later this week I hope to write a few posts about the apps themselves, instead of just throwing out app counts for once. In the mean time, let’s just say that the last couple of days have been very kind to Windows 8 users.

According to my calculations today, there are now 2,452 Windows Store apps available globally, with 1,741 of them available in the US.

Back to the “seat-of-the-pants” aspect. As I rewrote some code I discovered a bug in how I was calculating free apps internationally (outside of the US English store). Because of that, the percentage is up. Not dramatically, not fatally, but up. Today the number of free apps is 2,122 globally, meaning ~86% of apps are free. I’m looking to post more granular updates of the US store in particular, and will hopefully start updating the stats around it (including categories) in more detail. In a nutshell, I believe that the percentage of apps that are free outside of the US may be higher than it is inside the US. Further calculations in time may reveal more info here.

Finally, I’m introducing a stat that I believe will be interesting, which is how the ARM app count stacks up to the count of x86 and x64 (which are effectively at parity). By calculating
ARM/average(x86/x64) I have a general percentage of apps that are available for Windows RT but are for Windows 8. Today that percentage is 93%.


21
Sep 12

Windows Store: Two-thousand, seventy-nine

Milestones. Every one counts. Sure, the iOS app store has considerably more apps than the Windows Store today – that’s not news.

But developers are adding to the Windows Store every day – and though some apps are removed from the store periodically, the number that grows every day. Today, the Windows Store broke the 2000 app mark and arrived at 2,079 apps available internationally.

Though I can’t explain the divot of September 12th (the day after the Windows Store opened broadly to all locales), it recovered and is continuing to trend north, as you can see below.

Just as importantly, as that number has grown, so has the number of paid apps. Free apps comprised 89% of the store inventory on September 9th, and that percentage has declined to 83% as of today.


19
Sep 12

Windows Store: What’s new? A day in the life of the Windows Store

The most common request I’ve gotten so far is “what is new on the store?” The Windows Store app on Windows 8 shows you in general what’s been added, but doesn’t do much to break it down for you.

Though it can be a lot of information – the store is adding roughly 50 or more apps per day – some days far more, some days a bit less, I thought I’d share “A day in the life of the Windows Store”.

From my research, today, Sept. 19, 2012, there were 61 applications added in the US market. They are listed below. Yes, I know, there are several that have non-English titles. Yes, those are available for US English users. They are hidden by default, but can be viewed by going to the Settings charm in the App Store, and selecting Preferences, then turning off the option to “Make it  easier to find apps in my preferred language”.

Books & Reference:

  • Server Posterpedia by Martin McClean – (Books & Reference / Reference) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • LOLCat Bible by Blue Marble Software (Pty) Ltd. – (Books & Reference) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • ???? by yqhan2012@hotmail.com – (Books & Reference) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)

Business:

  • Banner by Productivity Concepts – (Business) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Leads Machine by Eriksen – (Business) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)

Education:

  • Guitar Chords by Festyk – (Education) Available for: (x86|x64|no ARM)
  • Kashmiri by Hashia Labs – (Education) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Learn Pi! by MatroIT Systems Kft. – (Education) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • QuickMath by Mihov.com – (Education) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • SocialStudy by RocketDogSoftware – (Education) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • UserGroup.tv by Shawn Weisfeld – (Education) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Voice Toddler Cards by Sai Services LLC – (Education) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • IT??????? by nyoron – (Education) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)

Entertainment:

  • Cool Clock by Ryke Studio – (Entertainment) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Imgurian by William Killerud – (Entertainment) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Love Compatible by ajimix – (Entertainment) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Mandelbrot Viewer by Ninputer – (Entertainment) Available for: (x86|x64|no ARM)
  • Modern Comic Reader by OizoSoft – (Entertainment) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Number Guess by TI Capacitación & Universidad de desarrollo – (Entertainment) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • TINAMI Ranking Viewer2 by nyoron – (Entertainment) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Word Clock 8 by TechPreacher – (Entertainment) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)

Games:

  • ace.Solitaire Collection by Ventimiglia – (Games / Card) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Animal Sounds Jukebox by ajimix – (Games / Kids) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Caça Palavras by Carlucci Apps – (Games / Puzzle) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Galinho by Sara Silva – (Games / Arcade) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • I Love Math by BRIDGE-BUILDING MEDIA GROUP – (Games / Kids) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Magnets puzzle by Tess – (Games / Puzzle) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • MATHRATHON by Chan Jun Xiu – (Games / Puzzle) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Memoriam by kagaminator – (Games / Puzzle) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Noogra Nuts by Oren Bengigi – (Games / Arcade) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Othello by Kamal Aggarwal – (Games / Strategy) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Retro WallBounce by balint – (Games / Arcade) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Snap Master by Martin Zikmund – (Games / Family) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Untangle Pro by Lee – (Games / Puzzle) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Table Games by Le_Morri – (Games / Puzzle) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • WordMixer by Webodrome Arise Technologies Private Limited – (Games / Puzzle) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • ????? by nyoron – (Games / Kids) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)

Health & Fitness:

  • PPCalc by Carles – (Health & Fitness) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Medicine Cabinet XXL by EBS – (Health & Fitness) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)

Lifestyle:

Music & Video:

  • Mini Guitar by DefthKniht – (Music & Video / Music) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)

News & Weather:

  • AAWP by Geoff Webber-Cross – (News & Weather / News) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • AS by Prisa Digital SL – (News & Weather / News) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • blog.hu by Inda-Labs – (News & Weather / News) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Informa Bologna by 5DLabs.it – (News & Weather / News) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Informa Palermo by 5DLabs.it – (News & Weather / News) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)

Photo:

  • DOF Calculator by Goebbels Mario – (Photo) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Photo Viewr by WEApps – (Photo) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)

Productivity:

  • My Chalk Board by balint – (Productivity) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Present-A-URL by TechPreacher – (Productivity) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • QMobileClone by i-Zillion – (Productivity) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Quick XPath by Jonathan Dent – (Productivity) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Reminder Toast by SUNDARA PRABU .T – (Productivity) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)

Sports:

Tools:

  • Clock Tile by dave smits – (Tools) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Entertainment Organizer by CA Dev Team – (Tools) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Softonic by Softonic International SL – (Tools) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)
  • Tu frase a binario by adrfrank – (Tools) Available for: (x86|x64|ARM)

18
Sep 12

Windows Store: How many apps? How many developers? What’s the ratio?

I swear – there are other people asking for information too – but the other day Jason again gave me a good question for which I had the data in hand. He asked:

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/databasejase/status/247582677241307136"]

As of yesterday, Sept. 18, 2012:

  • There were 1851 apps available globally.
  • There were 1094 developers with apps live in the store.
  • The average is 1.6 apps per developer.
  • 866 of developers had one app live.
  • There are 18 developers with 10 or more applications live on the store.
  • Microsoft has 26 applications live in the store (titled as Microsoft Corporation or Microsoft Studios)
  • 3 developers have more apps live in the store than Microsoft.

 


17
Sep 12

Flashlight apps – lighting their way into the Windows Store

As I mentioned yesterday, I asked my Twitter followers what Windows Store statistics they’d like to see. He likely meant it as a joke, but follower @databasejase asked:

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/databasejase/status/247440810721832960"]

I figured I’d actually take a look at this one, just to see if they had shown up. Indeed they have.

Early on, the Apple iPhone had no LED flash, so “flashlight” apps arrived that could light the screen one (or often more) colors, so that the screen could be simply used as a flashlight in lieu of an actual flashlight. Hardly convenient for use all the time, but it worked in a pinch. I’m somewhat ashamed that, in the era of early iOS flashlight apps, where many were free, I knew a dev who charged for his, and actually made a killing.

The iPhone evolved, and added an LED flash, with an API. There are countless flashlight apps on iOS today – I still even have one on my iPhone today. The LED makes a wonderful flashlight when you need it.

It appears that, like the iPad, most (but not all) Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets will not feature an LED camera flash with their cameras, usually most useful for rear-facing cameras. I’m also unsure if there is a WinRT API to access such a flash, if it does exist.

As a result, it appears that we’re back in iPhone 3G territory, where a) Yes, there are WinRT “Flashlight” apps on the Windows Store, and b) They are all screen, not LED flash, based flashlights.

So to Jason’s question, how many are there?

As of yesterday, Sept. 16, 2012, there were 6 flashlight applications that I could find on the store, and thankfully, all are free.

The first one, innovatively named “Flashlight“, appeared on Aug. 20, 2012, and was created by PEARL APPS LLC, who currently have 5 apps on the store.

As of yesterday the others are as follows:

  1. Flashlight+ (8/21/2012) by Jujuba Software, who currently has 13 apps on the store.
  2. TorchLight (8/24/2012) by Jonathan Toh, who currently has 8 apps on the store.
  3. Portable Flashlight (9/11/2012) by DefthKniht, who currently has 7 apps on the store.
  4. Simple Flashlight (9/13/2012) by ??????????, who currently has 2 apps on the store.
  5. Flashlight for Win8 (9/13/2012) by TI Capacitación & Universidad de desarrollo, who currently has 17 apps on the store.

Most likely these apps are early pioneers, and we can expect that they will light the way for many other flashlight apps to follow.

 


16
Sep 12

Welcome to WinAppUpdate

One month ago today, I began analyzing the Windows Store. It was a dark time, when we didn’t know the difference between a Metro app, modern app, and a Windows Store app. When I first calculated the number of Windows Store apps on August 16th, it was 530 applications.

Times have changed – with the clarified naming, I think I finally get what those terms all mean. Well at least the last two. The first one means you’re likely to get your hand slapped by somebody. :-) Oh, and there are now 1749 applications, globally, on the Windows Store as of today (September 16th, 2012).

So for exactly one month, I’ve been parsing Microsoft’s Windows Store, attempting to get an idea of what’s there, what’s not, how it was evolving, and what kind of patterns in general I could find. The statistics I provide are calculated by me, using publicly available information that I have gleaned from Microsoft. They have not provided the statistics, or the information, to me directly. The numbers provided are not official, and not necessarily blessed or approved by Microsoft.

I’ve posted a few of these stats on my Twitter account, @getwired, and dumped a fair amount of the statistics into a “State of the Store” article at Directions on Microsoft, where I work.

But this level of detail, and this granularity, is a different type of information, and much more consumer focused, than Directions on Microsoft usually handles, and not something every single one of my Twitter followers may care about. As a result, I’ll likely be writing up summary articles here, and using @WinAppUpdate to post updates when interesting statistics, or posts on this site, are available.

Drop me a line at either Twitter account, or in the comments here, to let me know what you think, or what statistics you care most about. I don’t plan to issue any extensive reviews of apps, but I do know where you can go for those if you want.

A few things to bear in mind. I asked on Twitter earlier today for people to tell me what statistics they wanted to see. While I can share a few of those mentioned, some, such as actual sales numbers or most popular apps are simply things I wouldn’t be able to get anytime soon, since Microsoft does not share those in any public manner today, provides no API to retrieve them, and would be unlikely to share with me.

I look forward to helping you discover whatever I can about the Windows Store!


16
Sep 12

Yahoo and Microsoft – Bread and circuses?

This morning I awoke to the news that Marissa Mayer, the new CEO of Yahoo, was awarding Yahoo employees with a free smartphone, and, from what I can derive, some coverage for service plans as well.

On the heels of Microsoft’s news last week leaked during their company meeting of free personal/work Windows Phone 8 devices, Windows RT devices, and accelerated replacement of work systems with Windows 8-capable PCs, this is interesting news to consider.

Perhaps some may call this jealousy – but I’m not sure either of these moves is that great of an idea (from an investor perspective, I would question both – if I were an investor in either), moreover, I don’t think that either will move the needle in terms of adoption. I’m not talking in terms of the trivial “92,000 employees pushes Windows Phone 8 over the finish line” either. I’m saying that, if we figure out how many millions each of these moves cost Yahoo or Microsoft, and you could look at the end result and see the difference it makes on how the community at large uptakes either one’s products or services – or how it affects the financial bottom line – as a result of employees having these devices, the answer is “not much”.

As an EXMSFT, I can tell you that the company meeting is, by far, the largest opportunity that Microsoft’s senior leadership gets annually to incite morale in employees. This year Microsoft will ship an insane amount of products – and among the server products, they look to be doing quite well. Among clients, and especially among Windows Phone, questions remain about how well Microsoft can hold on or push forward.

A good friend suggested the other day that upon hearing of Microsoft’s move, the first thing he thought of was breads and circuses. An interesting thesis. I have to say – not trying to be cynical – this move, and especially Yahoo’s, had so much more to do with trying to lift morale at a company no longer at peak morale. Microsoft and Yahoo have both made great numbers of employees wealthy over the years. I don’t  believe either one tends to make the majority of minions (the developers, testers, program managers, product managers, marketers – the people who actually make the company move forward) wealthy any longer. Years ago, wealthy Microsoft employees would gleefully spend inordinate amounts of money to buy the latest hardware and software that the company and it’s partners had produced.

I’m concerned that the moves by Microsoft and Yahoo both reflect an attempt to try and motivate a slowing, frustrated workforce with toys and services that, if each company was doing better, the employees could buy with stock grants or options (as the case may be), and more importantly in Microsoft’s case, that employees would be buying if the products were farther along in building their market and employees wouldn’t feel duped by buying. To Microsoft’s defense, WP8, Windows RT, and Surface RT are new, and so employees are being given early evangelism roles with these pieces of technology. But I can’t help but wonder where they’ll both be in 24 months. I’ve had so many conversations with friends at Microsoft who bought into the Zune ecosystem early and fervently, only to be angry and frustrated years later when they had bought devices that docked to, and music that played on, Zune devices – only to throw them away when Zune ignobly died. Microsoft offered WP7 devices to employees too – and I think it in general encouraged employees to become more familiar with Windows Phone 7. But each of those devices is now effectively abandoned again less than two years after employees got them, unable to run Windows Phone 8 – though any apps or content they purchased should likely work fine on their new device.

Maybe these moves at Yahoo and Microsoft will move the needle forward. Perhaps they’ll make Yahoo employees excited and drive them to build even better mobile-enabled Yahoo services. Perhaps they’ll make Microsoft employees jazzed to work at Microsoft if they were a little demotivated, and further drive those who still love working at Microsoft – and in turn drive adoption of Microsoft technology across the board as employees both evangelize, and build software and services that connect best to, these devices. For now, I look at both, and wonder how much money was spent, and what net effect it will really have. We’ll see in time.


12
Sep 12

Introducing! The new iPhone Disappointment!

No. This isn’t going to be one of those posts. It’s not going to be derisive about Apple at all. So if you came here for a good old fashioned “Steve Jobs wouldn’t have done that” beating, you might want to just click back or close this tab.

Even at the age of 39, I still enjoy visiting Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Why? Because, if you let your mind go, and your imagination wander, they’re amazing places. For a lot of grownups, if you look around either Disney park, you’ll see a bunch of concrete buildings, fake plants and lakes, and a shipload of stores. As Tim Berners-Lee used to tell his children, “Everything you don’t understand is magic.”

If you’re a magician and you hang around other magicians, I can only imagine magic could, well… lose it’s magic.

Among the technophiles I follow on Twitter, most were either in the “this is a disappointment” (net negative) or “I expected more” (net neutral) camp, though a fair amount were still positive about the changes. A little over a year ago, I wrote about my philosophy on the evolutionary/revolutionary cycles that the iPhone generally goes through. To that end, this year should have been a revolutionary cycle. And honestly it was. Stay with me for a second.

In the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi“, there is a brilliant dialog from, I believe, one of Jiro’s former apprentices. In his segment, he discusses how Jiro’s eldest son must not just meet Jiro’s standards when Jiro passes away or stops working there, but instead his son must work twice as hard or risk losing customers simply due to perception. That is possibly the case. But the core of the matter is, only Jiro’s most steadfast critics wouldn’t go there simply because Jiro is gone. But imagine Jiro’s son had started the restaurant, and Jiro had never been there? All of a sudden, the units of measure change.

Most consumers don’t intimately track iPhone evolution. Most consumers don’t intimately track phones. Most consumers don’t have the time or wherewithall to keep track of the megafoo and Near-Field bar. The reality is that this SNL Verizon video wasn’t comedy to any consumer that watched it. It was documentary.

Consumers don’t buy iPhones because they want the latest foo or bar. They buy iPhones because the device – the Apple ecosystem – is a known quantity that works for them. Apple has turned electronics into appliances. Rather foolproof appliances. Most consumers love that idea.

So while the geeks look at today’s iPhone and laugh at how technologically inadequate the iPhone 5 is, how Apple “dropped the ball” (again!), and how “Steve Jobs would never have released this!”, the reality is this “disappointing” device will sell in volumes and at price points that will school effectively every other phone produced this year. Because it just works. That it is thinner, lighter, faster, has better battery life, and a larger screen? Handy. Doesn’t matter. It’s the new iPhone. It will continue to keep the wind in Apple’s sales.