Microsoft

The countdown to 100,000 Windows 8 apps falls short

Greg Shultz spent the last few months tracking available apps in the Windows Store; see what he discovered.

As you may remember, on October 5th, 2012, at the Advertising Week convention in New York, Keith Lorizio, VP of U.S. Sales and Marketing at Microsoft said in an interview with Beet.TV that the company planned on having 100,000 apps in Windows Store within 90 days of the launch. His exact statement was:

"We're expecting to aggressively pursue 100,000-plus apps over the first three months."

He then went on to say that to make that happen, Microsoft was working closely with its partners and providing ample funding.

"We know that we have to have a very healthy ecosystem of apps, and we're putting millions of dollars against the effort and working with publishers in order to get their apps live as quickly as possible," Lorizio said. (You can see to the entire interview on the Beet.TV site.)

Being a skeptic

After I heard this prediction, I was both excited and a bit skeptical. On the one hand, if Microsoft was pushing for 100,000 apps in the Windows Store within 90 days, then there would truly be some great apps from which to choose. But, on the other hand, I had heard great predictions from Microsoft before.

Since, Windows 8 was launched October 26th, I figured that Microsoft was shooting for 100,000 apps by January 24th. Therefore, I decided that I would monitor the Windows Store and keep track of Microsoft's progress.

In order to get a good gauge on the initial push, I decided to begin my countdown to 100,000 apps on October 24th. I figured that on the day of the Windows 8 launch, there would be a big surge and that by starting two days before the launch I would get a good baseline. So I created an Excel spreadsheet and tallied up all the Apps in each category. On each Monday since that day, I connected to the Windows Store and checked how many apps had been added to each category.

As you can speculate from the title of this blog post, Microsoft didn't reach Lorizio's prediction. Even so, the data that I gathered over the last 90 days provides an interesting look at the progress that Microsoft has made so far. Let take a closer look.

Keep in mind that my focus here is on the number of apps in the Windows Store. In no way am I favoring or highlighting any one app category over any other.

An overview

As I mentioned, I began my tally on October 24th, two days before the Windows 8 launch on October 26th and that I updated it on every Monday since. Doing so took me from October 29th, 2012 to January 28th, 2013, which is 91 days or 13 weeks. Considering that I began on 10/24/12 and stopped on 1/28/13, you can see that the exact time span of my data collection period was 96 days. So you can see I actually gave Microsoft a little leeway.

(It's important to keep in mind that this data is only accurate as of January 28th, 2013. Between this date and the current date, Microsoft will surely have added more apps to the Windows Store.)

As I added data to my spreadsheet, I also created a series of graphs that display the data with bar charts. As I tallied up the total number of apps in the Windows Store each week as well as the total number of apps in each category, I also broke down the data and graphs to show the number of apps added each week by category as well the total number of apps added each week.

The Windows Store has 20 categories for its apps. The categories are as shown in Table A.

Table A

Games Sports Lifestyle Tools
Social Books & Reference Shopping Security
Entertainment News & Weather Travel Business
Photo Health & Fitness Finance Education
Music & Video Food & Dining Productivity Government

Total numbers

So at this point you're probably wondering just how many apps were in the Windows Store on January 28th. Well, the grand total on that day was 26,645, which is 73,355 short of the 100,000 goal. That's quite a shortfall!

(To be fair, I should point out that while Microsoft's Lorizio made the prediction, the majority of the apps in the store are created by third party developers, not Microsoft's developers. So it's not that Microsoft failed to create 100,000 apps, it's that Microsoft failed to spur on the developer community to create 100,000 apps.)

The Charts

Alright, now let's take a look at the graphs and see what we can see. The first graph, (Figure A) shows the total number of apps in the Windows Store each week. On October 24th, there were a mere 4,427 apps in the Windows Store. Three days after the official launch of Windows 8, that number had jumped up to 6,045. As you can see, in the first six weeks there were some pretty significant jumps. Then over the next seven weeks, things slowed down until they reached the 26,645 total on January 28th.

Figure A

The total number of apps in the Windows Store each week.
To see how big those initial jumps were and how small the remaining jumps were, take a look at the graph labeled Figure B, which shows the number of apps added to the Windows Store each week. This graph begins on October 29th and is color coded to match the graph in Figure A. So you can see that in the first five days after I began keeping track, 1,618 apps were added to the Windows Store. Between 10/29 and 11/5, 1,729 apps were added and so on. The largest number of apps added to the Windows Store was 2,629 apps for the week ending December 3rd. The smallest number of apps added to the Windows Store was 669 apps for the week ending January 14th.

Figure B

The number of apps added to the store each week

Totals by category

Now that we have taken a look at the totals, let's take a look as the breakdown by category. Figure C shows the total number of apps in each category on January 28th. It is no surprise the category with the most apps is Games with a total of 4,116. The Education category, with 3,564 apps, just barely edged out the Entertainment category, with 3,355 apps. Books & Reference has a good showing with 2,926 apps as does Tools with 2,363 apps. With only 105 apps, Government came in last place.

Figure C

The total number of apps in the Windows Store on January 28th, by category.
Now, I also graphed out the number of apps added to each category each week, as shown in Figure D. As you can see, this graph begins with my 10/24 baseline, shows the increase in the first five days, and then begins the weekly tally between 10/29 and 11/5. While this graph is very busy, it shows that the top categories shown in Figure C consistently got big increases each and every week.

Figure D

This graph shows the number of apps added to each category each week.

What's your take?

Did you think that Microsoft would have been able to spur the developer community to 100,000 apps in 90 days? Or were you a skeptic? As always, if you have comments or information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you. (I intend to continue keeping track of the number of apps in the Microsoft Store and I will present a follow up once Microsoft does reach 100,000 apps.)

Also read:

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

42 comments
Nashphil
Nashphil

I like to start conspiracy theories. The latest is; Is Apple preventing iOS app developers from rewriting their apps for other OS's? There I said it, Apple is a corporate bully. Anyone else believe this? It's not hard to see this happening, why else would Windows 8 app store fall short? Maybe, of the millions of apps out there, only a few are Really useful and original. Yes, Seriously, How many apps are Really going to be used by a person in their lifetime? And, How many facebook or other apps that do the same thing do we really need? I'm betting that the app fever has cooled, that over the last few years app developers have realized that "their" app isn't the best thing ever and only the serious apps are even being made. Break it down, How about some stats on how many iOS apps haven't been downloaded in the last year or how many have only been downloaded less than 100 times in it's lifetime? Might explain why Win8 doesn't have as many OR Apple is a corporate Bully!

ssanders
ssanders

Does anyone know of an app for Windows 8 that will disable the gestures - or whatever it is that causes the charm bars to pop up in the middle of what you're doing, and then the start screen pops up - it is annoying as fingers on a chalk board. Any small movement on the touch pad can trigger it. If you are using a mouse it is not an issue, but I use the touch pad a lot. I am very close to loading Windows 7 on my laptop. Please let me know if there is a way to disable this god-awful feature. TIA

carpetking
carpetking

I agree with others that I only need to choose from 4 or 5 Scientific Calculator apps, not 100 or 200. Also, I have a couple of App ideas I'd love to work on, but I hold down a full time developer job and as of now they don't have a need for me to work on any App development. I'd work on an App at home, but I have a wife and family that I like to spend time with. Yes, I know I could make a few extra bucks doing 'App' development, but quality time with those that I love is more important! :-)

scorpioyd
scorpioyd

Microsoft may have made the comment of adding 100,000 apps... and that did not happen so what... Of the 100,000 plus apps on the iphone or droid sphere.. how many people realistically have explored even 10,000 apps (those who may have were either getting paid for it or just had too much time on their hands (wonder what they do for a living))... I am in India and using a Windows 7.5 device...I have not had the need to install more that 50-60 apps (games included), of which I may have uninstalled quite a few. If the apps that are there are good and meet the needs of a majority of users it really does nto matter how many apps are there.... The number game of having so many apps is just a marketing gimmick ... and fuel is added to it by writers who don't have anything better to do... Seriously dude... if you get paid to count the apps on the windows store on a weekly basis...power to you my friend and is there a vacany to do that... Me reading this article and responding to it could also mean I have a bit more time on my hand... :).

programit
programit

For serious application development your not going to get software written and approved in 90 days. Many developers waited until full release of the OS prior to investing into development. Also the Modern UI metro type "app" seems to be predominantly non professional, games, and trinket apps that have little more than novelty value to desktop users. (Where most of the Windows 8 installations seem to be). Microsoft seem to be offering good support, and pushing hard but its still early days for the more serious developers, and hopefully some full software enhanced for Windows 8 will start to become available over the next 6 to 12 months. At this stage it all seems like copies of IOS and android apps. (Not necessarily the better ones) I hope the market doesn't go the way of IOS etc, being filled with the same apps with a different skins. How many "bubble pop" , "Jumping" or "hidden item" apps do you need?

Gisabun
Gisabun

.... I don't care if any platform even has a billion apps. Unless they are useful and of quality, why bother with the race for the NUMBER of apps? A report came out that at Apple's AppStore(TM), something likre over 50% of the apps were never even downloaded and many others downloaded just a few times.

BuckG
BuckG

I agree with Mark and Dave. I have 133 apps installed on my Andy; I don't really need 1/4 of those as it is. As long as I can find the ones I need to accomplish the things I want to do with a smartphone, why should I care about Apple's or Google's huge number of apps (so many of which have duplicate functionality or are simply not anything I need or want) compared to Microsoft's? The big problem with Microsoft's platform right now is their interface, not whether they can cram an app store with a volume of junk to rival those of Apple and Google.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Why make a metro app if you can make an html5 app. If HTML5 can't do it, metro probably can't and then a desktop program is the best solution. MS spent lots of time trying to figure out how people use their computer, and that's fine, but they forgot that the purpose of an OS is to run programs, and developers will use whatever gives them the biggest audience and the best results (best return for time and money). And that's not metro. Metro is locked to Windows. So if you are going to develop windows only, why not make it a desktop app and get the full ability of the system? If you are trying for multi platform, solutions like HTML5 are where you are going to turn.

eaglewolf
eaglewolf

100,000 apps is senseless. As has been mentioned, how many clocks, birds, and flashlights do you need? Ahh, but maybe you're waiting for the flashlight app that, when lit, plays the William Tell Overture?? We need quality - which includes security - not quantity. For example, bank apps: lots of them, yes, but the 'developers' are vague shadows. Their app gives full access to your account, and transmits your username and password (through them) in clear text. And offers you the option to store the u/p on your device so that when it's stolen, it makes someone very happy. Flashlights? One got uninstalled very quickly when it was discovered it had full access to the device. Then, it allowed for the video to be turned on AND record ambient audio. A FLASHLIGHT? That little LED??? I no longer update apps and have cleaned the closet. I don't know the security level of Win8 devices, but let's just say they're on the 'patch list.' Android is the most vulnerable system and that problem is expected to increase this year. They appear to have little or no control on developers or a check/balance system to insure an app is safe before distribution. If Microsoft wanted a good advertising point for business users .. not the toy market .. they'd limit the total number of apps, check them (and the developer) before release and continue to monitor them, and advertise the heck out of that security feature. With some companies discussing the value of both BYOD and syncing all Win8 devices, that's a selling point.

stu
stu

It is such a large change from XP, my previous computer's system, that I can't do my daily tasks. I was forced to buy a W7 system just to stay alive. Now I'm trying to figure out how to backload XP on the W8 system - chuck the touch screen, get rid of the crap the vendor shipped, get rid of the pop-ups and junk that comes when I'm reading e/mail and just do my work. I don't need or want 100,000 apps - I have a Android so I know the apps I need and that improve my life. Make it all go away - sell me an extra cost version of W8 that gets out of my way and lets me accomplish my work, not the work of the vendors and developers who make crap that they push as software. /Stu

BavonWW
BavonWW

"a very healthy ecosystem of apps" Does the company that sells Sea-Monkeys also sell App growing kits? I'm off to buy a Superman comic to find out.

BavonWW
BavonWW

Metro might have a few good points but I get the feeling that more money was spent on advertising and worthless market research than needed; resulting in the Toytown colour scheme, and feature omissions, which fails to promote confidence in real-world users... Microsoft; please put me or any average user in charge and you'll see your market share rocket.

TrueDinosaur
TrueDinosaur

It should be a countup, no? I don't think MS would really want a countdown. :-)

bsmi021
bsmi021

I never thought there would be, there are many programs/apps that people already use on their computers, that could be used on a tablet, and the most important things that I think most have missed the fact that if you look at (iTunes) there are a lot of games, and most important of a lot of copies of JUNK! For the most part myself included is that people use their computer for work, not play and yes the people I know and work for are in the age group of 45+, so they are not into all the social craziness that the younger crowd is into (other than to stay on top of the kids), also they do not like change, and this is going to play a big part into people getting windows 8, and also the apps needed for it. So do not worry about a number worry about quality!

patg00
patg00

with my lumina 920 than my wife with her iPhone. It's a phone first, and I like Nokia's radio.

danab
danab

Does this even matter? People just love to critique others. If only we were all capable doing exactly what we had hoped and perhaps even stated openly.

kerry.sisler
kerry.sisler

Good data capture. To be truely groundbreaking news however, this data set needs to be compared to data for the same stage of the lifecycle for IOS and Android. And a comparision between the three mobile platforms as of 28 Jan 2013 and a rate of change assessment.

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

Greg, you did a really nice job collecting the data and getting it into clear, easily understood charts. I'm no fan of Win8, but I admire a great presentation.

rbaer
rbaer

I'd be happy with 100 excellent apps and another 400 decent apps. Apps don't mysteriously appear in 90 days - they take lots of time and effort. And this is a new platform to come up to speed on, with I suspect an appropriate lack of excellent development tools so far. I'm not making excuses for the development community, but I'll be patient and wait for the good stuff. In the mean time, hold the crapware, please!

gkrew
gkrew

People who are not app developers and who do not remember how long Apple and Android took to get to 30,000 apps will not understand what Microsoft is facing. How many flashlight apps are out there? For me, It is not about the number of apps but the quality and type of app. It is a bit of a catch 22. If the developer won't develop for a mobile OS because they think the users are not there then they could be contributing to the problem. I think developers are not aware that they can develop for Xbox Live, Windows Phone and Windows 8. If the popular apps that are available on the other app stores start to develop for all mobile OS that would eliminate the copycat apps that clutter the app stores and they can "get rich from a 0.99cent app" after they have recouped their dev and support costs.

gcrook
gcrook

Tufte Agree totally with mcelholum.daniel - Win 8 sparked an older laptop, and all the start menu discussion is silly Personally I cannot imagine what 100,000 useful apps would include. How many calendars, reminders, timers, and birds do we need?

sysdev
sysdev

This idea of the total number of apps being important is crazy. If you have 200 or 3 apps to count your toes - who cares. Even useful apps - more than just a few different ones is of no importance. How many different clocks do you need on your phone? Apple and Android started this rush to the biggest number of apps, and if you want to put more than 100 apps on your phone, you should get a computer. This is idiocy. Windows Phone has all the apps I need. How many do you actually need?

mcquiggd
mcquiggd

I am still waiting for Greg Shultz, or even Tech Republic ... to post 10 interesting, non flame-bait, fact based articles, in 3 years (3 months would be a be a bit optimistic.). If there is no mention of how many people installed them, uninstalled them, actively used them, or even paid for them, you might as well do a blog post saying 'There are 16,500,000 websites related to adult videos in US English, but there are only 50,000 related to dealing with cancer - so don't waste your time on cancer research, the real value is in adult videos'

howell.rees
howell.rees

The subject is enough. If I were a developer, I would stay well clear of it.

Smart_Neuron
Smart_Neuron

Microsoft blew it by making it a lousy desktop experience. A desktop with a touch screen is nuts, IMHO. I like how they are trying to emulate Apple's App Store. How innovative!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

My skepticism regarding W8 on the desktop is well documented here. However, this discussion spawned questions in my sleep-starved brain. Are there any Metro-style applications that would be useful (not fun or entertaining, but productive) for someone running W8 on a traditional desktop system at work? Are there any that are superior to existing conventional Windows apps, or that don't have traditional counterparts? Are there any that would give a desktop user a reason to appreciate Metro?

groberts116
groberts116

The October prediction of 100,000 apps in 90 days was reasonable at the time. However, who would have thought that there would be so many tech critics writing, what I consider base less or at least exaggerated denigrating reviews of Windows 8. I will concede that concerns by IT about the missing start button is an issue. Also, there were negative comments by readers that had not used Windows 8, but in an effort to protect their favorite OS did write negative comments. All of which I'm sure did not go unnoticed by app developers. I do feel that as Windows 8 use increases that RT type app development will increase accordingly. Windows 8 is a new OS paradigm, which creates a change related drag, but not an insurmountable drag.

TNT
TNT

I'm not sure if the promise was for 100,000 WinRT apps or if they meant all apps for Windows 8 in the store.

TRgscratch
TRgscratch

about "how many apps are there for X platform?" is always: I don't care if there is one or one million - as long as the one that I want is there. OTOH, if you are using the total of number of apps, or the trajectory of new apps being added as a measure of "acceptance" of platform X by the developer marketplace, that's a different subject.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

There may not be 100,000 apps in the Windows Store, but does there really need to be that many apps? Wouldn't it be better to have 20,000 good apps and not so many worthless apps?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Tin foil is on aisle 5. You can use an aluminum funnel as a template; they're on aisle 9. Be sure to plug the hole in the top.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...I'd like to read that report. Can you post a link? I agree with you... I'd prefer quality over quantity.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

It doesn't matter to them how many apps Android or Apple had after their first three months. All they know is two platforms have a lot more applications available than the new kid does NOW. If a new credit card appeared but was only accepted in three stores, would you switch to it? "Hey, MasterCard was only accepted in two stores after their first three months!" "So what? It's accepted everywhere now." I agree with those who feel the number of available applications isn't as good an indicator of OS quality as the quality of those apps. However, most consumers aren't developers.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...the only response I can come up with is... You're not from around here, are you? Otherwise you would know that I've written lots, and lots of "fact-based" articles for TechRepublic. If you are interested, please check out my TR page http://www.techrepublic.com/search?a=Greg+Shultz&tag=content;siu-container

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

Actually I think there are more than 16,500,000 websites. Every time I go to one a whole bunch of others keep opening in my browser. I'm not complaining mind you.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm not sure why you're comparing MS's store to Apple's, at least not in terms of innovation. It wasn't an original idea when Apple did it either.

mcelholum.daniel.e
mcelholum.daniel.e

My old computer was on its last legs and I was preparing to buy a new one. As an experiment I upgraded to windows 8 (from a very early Vista) for $40. Now I do not need a new computer. I prefer the new layout and fast start-up. I cannot understand the comments about the start button as I rarely used it. All the programs I used were an icon on the desktop and now they are a tile. I think the 'experts' are a lot younger than me and lack the experience of a computer being a tool. Anyone who did not upgrade can thank the 'experts' for a lot of misinformation and a missed opportunity. With reference to your comment about developers I think they should wake up to the fact that most are being screwed by apple which has made its app store impossible to navigate for anything other than what apple thinks will suit its image. If they helped MS become a creditable alternative they would not only broaden their own markets but claw back some strength in the iOS arena. Some I know have taken a stance which is actually not to their long term advantage.

dave
dave

Have you gone through Apple's Apps?? There are so many repeats. Calling up, say, Office for iPAD see how many versions there are for "learn office in 24 hours" This is bloatware on a whole different scale. Anyone care to make a guess of what percentage are "really" unique apps in Apple's store?? 10%? 20%? From what I've browsed not more than 20%. I'd rather see 26,000 good quality over a million full of repeats.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

... I working on taking a deep look at apps that would be beneficial to desktop users.