Windows Holds Global “Appathon” for Windows 8 and Windows Phone Apps

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On November 9, Microsoft held Windows apps workshops at 110 locations scattered across the globe. The purpose was to teach developers how to build apps for Windows 8 computers, tablets, and phones. They also offered education and training to help developers build apps for Windows’ Azure cloud. The reported total attendance was 13,500 developers, or an average of 123 per location.

Microsoft recently created the Windows Phone Store, and they want to create enough apps to compete with the Apple Store or Google Play. Currently, Microsoft supports C#, SAML, JavaScript, and HTML5 as programming languages. They see the recent addition of JavaScript and HTML5 as a boon to app development, and project that it will attract more developers.

Developers demonstrated various apps at the Appathon. Bill Ashton demonstrated StopJetLag, which he configured for Windows Phone 8. Guy McNally demonstrated an app that was developed for earlier versions of Windows, called RodisMusic. RodisMusic can be used to teach music online, and McNally is excited about the possibility of developing a new version of the app for Windows 8.

We like the entry of Windows 8 into the market, and the fact that Microsoft is encouraging app development. We are waiting to see whether the Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 tablets will catch on, but we know that, when it comes to the desktop, most of the world runs on windows. Windows 8 represents an attempt on the part of Microsoft to blur the lines between desktop, laptop, and mobile devices, and eventually create an integrated experience for all four.

If Microsoft is able to transition their users into a combined laptop/desktop/tablet/smartphone universe, they could take a huge bite out of Apple and Android. Then again, Apple and Android are already firmly entrenched in the mobile marketplace.

Will Microsoft succeed in dominating the mobile market? We don’t think so. But maybe a more salient question is whether or not they can carve out a very nice niche for themselves with those who want to connect computer, tablet, and phones, but for a cost much less than that of Apple.

We don’t know which way the market is going to go on an integrated Windows 8 experience. We’re guessing that Windows 8 represents a great opportunity for app developers to turn a quick profit. That is good enough for now.

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