One of the highlights of the Windows 8 OS is the expansiveness of the Windows Store. Microsoft built up the marketplace quickly to offer more than 20,000 apps within the first month of operation. Data from Distimo, a company tracking app analytics, showed that the daily download volume of the top 300 apps in the Windows Store is three times greater than the downloads of the top 300 Mac App Store selections. However, the important qualifier for that finding is that many of those Windows 8 downloads are free, meaning the store isn’t nearly as valuable as the Apple App Store. In fact, about 86 percent of the offerings in the Windows Store don’t cost a penny.
Distimo provided other interesting insights about the Windows Store, noting that the available apps cater about evenly to tablets and PCs. It’s a big contrast to the App Store, which has just 13,000 selections for the Mac and a whopping 275,000 apps just for iPad. Microsoft has also pushed the local angle for its apps with the new store. More than 10 percent of those top 300 apps are popular in a specific geographic market. Just 65 percent of the Windows Store offerings are U.S. only, compared with 85 percent or more for other platforms. So while the money isn’t pouring in from apps, Microsoft has latched onto a strategy that seems to have a good chance for success.
There’s an interesting split in the purpose of OS X/iOS apps and Windows apps. The Apple App Store has made a hefty chunk of change on games for iPhones and the iPad, whereas not only are the bulk of the Windows apps free, but they seem to have a different focus. Many of the top Windows 8 apps are either designed for productivity or easier use of your Windows 8 device, or they are apps tied to popular websites. It is a subtle indication that Microsoft machines and the people who use them still have a serious edge.