On the one hand, Microsoft’s Windows Phone could stand to get out there and be compared to its competitors. Windows Phone is a unique, often strikingly different smartphone system, and it often looks and flows great, on the right kind of hardware. But that’s when we’re talking about the standard applications. There are some definite third-party standards in the Windows Marketplace, including Facebook, Spotify, and Yelp, but there are many apps and games familiar to iPhone and Android veterans that are missing, or poorly represented by modest knock-offs. There are many smartphone owners who mostly use their smartphones for browsing and email, but in my own experience, a steady trickle of announcements of neat apps “available for iPhone and Android” can eat away at someone’s confidence in their phone as a platform worth keeping around.
So it’s important for Microsoft to put one easily remembered phone on a $100 million pedestal. But it’s equally important for all the partners in this deal to make Windows Phone a place where developers believe they can find a new, paying marketplace for their apps.