That sound you just heard was Microsoft officially shattering a ceiling within the Windows Store. According to an unofficial tally by the site MetroStore Scanner, Microsoft has pushed past 50,000 total apps within the Windows Store.
While it's a great number on its face, a deeper dive into developer activity on the Windows Store suggests that the Windows 8 platform still has a little bit of catching up to do. According to MetroStore Scanner, the number of new apps submitted for inclusion in the Windows Store has been on a gradual decline since November of last year, with the average daily count of new apps submitted dropping from just over 400 in December 2012 to just shy of 150 in February.
To Microsoft's credit, this daily average has picked up a bit in March — jumping up to an average of around 280 new daily app submissions as of the most recent statistics available today. And perhaps Microsoft's recently announced "Keep the Cash" promotion has been a factor in the upswing.
The promotion, announced toward the middle of March, rewards developers with a cash bonus of $100 per app (£66) they submit to the Windows Store (or Windows Phone Store). Developers can make up to $2,000 (£1,310) in total from up to 10 submissions — assuming, of course, they publish their apps between the designated time period of March 8 to June 30. And that's also assuming that Microsoft's coffers don't run out, as the promotion is only designed to reward up to 10,000 applications submissions in total.
Additionally, notes Microsoft developer evangelist Jennifer Marsman, apps that developer submit, "must be substantially unique and different."
(Sorry, Angry Birds).
As TechCrunch's Matt Burns notes, it's difficult to compare the growth of apps in the Microsoft Store versus rival Apple, which lists approximately 13,000 total apps or so in its Mac App Store as of this article's writing.
Microsoft's Store, after all, supplies apps for the Windows 8 and Windows RT platforms – which includes tablets running either OS. It almost goes without saying that Apple's App Store for iOS contains a fairly hefty amount of apps and would easily overtake Microsoft's total app count even if one were to throw the 130,000 or so Windows Phone apps into Microsoft's count as well. And the total number of apps in the Android Market would beat out both Microsoft and Apple, et cetera, et cetera.
But is it the number of apps in a digital store that matters most... or their quality?
"This doesn't solve their fundamental challenge, which is to get A-list apps onto the app store," said Moor Insights & Strategy analyst Patrick Moorhead, speaking to Computerworld's Gregg Keizer about Microsoft's' cash-for-apps strategy.
"What they're going for is the long tail, a very long tail [of the number of apps], which is important, but it doesn't solve the problem that they have, such as the lack of a Facebook app, the lack of support for important apps like Time-Warner's TWC-TV."