Last week, San Francisco played host to Microsoft’s 2013 Build (or should that be //build/?) Conference for Developers. Several of the announcements from the conference focussed on the updated Windows 8.1, Internet Explorer and Xbox One; however, buried beneath these news stories were signals that the Windows Phone Store, and Microsoft’s presence on mobile devices, was moving in a positive direction. In a blog post
written recently, Microsoft stated that their Windows Phone Store now boasts 160,000+ apps, with transaction volumes reaching 200 million per month. This is something which Juniper Research explored in the Future App Stores: Discovery, Monetisation & Ecosystem Analysis Report
, released today. The Windows Phone Store is comparatively, much smaller than the App Store or Google Play, stores which contain over 850,000 and 700,000 apps respectively. Nevertheless, the growth of the Windows Phone Store is significant, and in an effort to reach more consumers, Microsoft has also teamed up with carrier billing provider Bango to reach more consumers in Indonesia. This means that the Windows Phone Store now has carrier billing options present in 20 countries, versus Google Play’s 14 and BlackBerry’s 39. Microsoft is undoubtedly trying to position itself among consumers who are upgrading from featurephones to smartphones; the aforementioned blog post cites its mid-tier range of smartphones, including the Nokia Lumia 520 and HTC 8XT. Indeed, Microsoft estimates that there are currently 4 billion featurephone users worldwide, a figure which is slightly lower than Juniper’s current estimates, but nonetheless implying that there is a huge opportunity to reach these consumers as the retail price point of bottom-end smartphones continues to decline. However, there will be a wealth of competition at this bottom-end, including the possibility of some from a rather unlikely source, given the persistent rumours that Apple is developing a low-cost iPhone. This is in addition to reports from the Wall Street Journal that Google is also working on its own brand of low-cost Android devices, in an attempt to combat the absence of its own services on many Android smartphones in developing regions.