MS’ Ozzie claims mobile apps secondary
Mobile apps aren’t an important factor in the success of a smartphone platform, Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie claimed today. Interviewed at the company’s Professional Developer Conference, the veteran developer tried to downplay apps as a lure and insisted that “all the apps that count” will be available on every smartphone as the time to write and port code is much shorter than on the desktop. Ozzie instead implied that it was the OS itself and its built-in features that would make the difference.
The comments are considered by attendees and critics to be a spin downplaying Windows Mobile’s weaknesses. Microsoft held an early lead in the number and preference for mobile apps but lost this within a year of Apple opening the iPhone’s App Store. It has over 100,000 apps where Microsoft now has just a fraction of that amount, although observers have noted that many iPhone apps are narrow-purpose and sometimes more limited due to Apple’s tighter store guidelines.
Microsoft has simultaneously acknowledged that its platform by itself needs a major update and is set to launch Windows Mobile 7 in the second half of 2010 with multi-touch input widely considered overdue. Zune media features are also known to be making the transition to the new OS.