Microsoft appears to be planning an applications ‘marketplace’ service for its Windows Mobile platform in an apparent attempt to compete with Apple’s ‘App Store’ and Google’s forthcoming ‘Android Market.’ In a recruitment posting, Microsoft reveals that it is searching for a senior product manager to launch the first version of a service called ‘Skymarket.’ The service is scheduled to commercially launch alongside Windows Mobile 7, which is reportedly slated to arrive late next year. In the posting, Microsoft described its goal as making Skymarket “the place to be for developers wishing to distribute and monetise their Windows Mobile applications.”
According to a Microsoft press statement earlier in the year, Windows Mobile already supports around 18,000 third-party applications. This compares to around 2,000 at App Store, but – unlike Apple’s service – Microsoft does not currently host all the applications at a single location. Apple launched its App Store on July 11 this year to coincide with the launch of the 3G version of the iPhone. Apple CEO Steve Jobs claimed in July that iPhone customers had downloaded over 60 million applications from the store in its first 30 days of launch, generating around US$30 million in sales. Last week, Google released the first details of Android Market, claiming it will allow developers to upload content in a similar manner to YouTube.