February 11, 2013, 10:19 AM — When it comes to mobile platforms, it's all about the apps. Got apps? Then you've got users. If you don't, then you don't--just ask BlackBerry about its failed Playbook, and both Palm and HP about the disaster that was WebOS. Overall app quality means more than numbers alone, of course, but if you don't have many apps populating a storefront, the odds are pretty low that new entries will knock your socks off.
Now consider Windows 8. A picture is worth a thousand words; the gray line in this graph--from MetroStore Scanner, a site that keeps unofficial tabs on new additions to the Windows Store--shows the growth rate over the Windows Store over the past 15 days. It's a flat line, and it's not very pretty.
Starting fast, then fizzling out
Yep, the Windows Store's growth has slowed to a near-standstill. That's a catastrophe for a platform that started out lagging far behind the competition.
Worse, the pace of new submissions has only slowed since Windows 8's launch. Despite early qualms about the state of the Windows Store, Microsoft's bold new operating system actually proceeded to grow at a fairly brisk pace once it hit the streets. Developers hit the ground running, pumping nearly 500 apps into the market each and every day, pushing the global total to 20,000 apps in less than a month.
The next 15,000 came at a slightly reduced speed, but it was nothing to worry about. When the Windows Store hit the 35,000 mark on December 27, the finger-friendly apps were flying in at a still-brisk rate of 415 per day, according to The Next Web.
Then the holidays were done, and so was the Windows Store's rapid growth.
It took until January 28--more than a month--for Microsoft's app market to add a mere 5,000 apps and crack the 40,000 app barrier. Some quick off-the-cuff math shows this equals roughly 156 apps per day, or only a third as many apps as were being added per day during the Windows Stores debut month.