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Few Apps for Microsoft Tablet

Microsoft’s new tablet may distinguish itself from the iPad with its keyboard and USB ports, but the device falls flat in one area, experts say: apps. Namely, there aren’t many.

Microsoft’s Windows runs a distant fourth place when it comes to apps, according to Rick Singer, CEO of The mobile version of its flagship operating system has just 70,000 apps on its Windows Smartphones – less than the 100,000 on Blackberry, 400,000 on Android and 600,000 on Apple’s iPhone. Though Microsoft says the Surface will come with a pre-loaded Netflix app, experts say the software shortfall could turn off potential buyers. “The company is still playing catch-up with apps,” Singer says. “That’s the biggest problem that they’re facing.”

The company faces a chicken-and-egg dilemma, experts say: Developers are unlikely to create Microsoft apps until tablet proves to be a hot seller, but the tablet may not sell well without a strong selection of apps. “Microsoft is going to have a hell of a time convincing established app-makers to pay attention to its new device,” says Alex Goldfayn, author of Evangelist Marketing. “iPad and Android users have already bought their favorite apps and downloaded them onto their devices,” he says. “They’re unlikely to switch to a new operating system now.” (Microsoft did not respond to requests for comment.)

On the plus side, the Surface will come with its own pre-loaded suite of Microsoft Office applications, including PowerPoint, Excel and Word. “These are effectively their own range of exclusive apps,” says Yung Trang, president of In fact, there seems to be a demand for these on other devices, he says. Unauthorized Microsoft apps occasionally pop up in Apple’s own store: just last weekend, Apple removed a $9.99 “Microsoft Word” app from its app store. However, Singer says Microsoft will need more than Office to compete with iPads. “It appears the only competitive thing they’ll be doing is running their own apps right now,” he says.


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