Microsoft will offer around 600 certified applications when it opens its mobile app store later this year, according to a Washington Post report, despite the Windows Mobile platform having more than 20,000 applications developed for it overall. Consumers will be able to buy applications on their credit card or through their operator bill, and will also be able to return apps within 24 hours if they are not completely satisfied. Microsoft has already signed up a number of software partners, including web music service Pandora, games publisher Electronic Arts and social network site Facebook. Other partners include another games publisher, Gameloft, weather website Accuweather.com, and News Corp’s MySpace social network. The store was officially unveiled in February and is scheduled to launch in the first half of this year on smartphones running Microsoft’s new Windows Mobile 6.5 platform. Microsoft’s app store will compete against a raft of rival platforms launched in response to the phenomenal success of Apple’s App Store, which offers around 50,000 apps. Google’s Android store offers around 5,000 apps whilst Palm reportedly only offers around 30 at present. Microsoft said in an earlier statement that Windows Marketplace would launch in 29 countries and offer third-party developers a 70 percent cut of revenue-share, the same rate offered by Apple and Google.
In separate app store news, Dow Jones Newswires reports that China Telecom plans to launch a mobile app store for its 3G network, though no details on timescales were released. Operators including rival China Mobile and Vodafone have been quick to jump on the application store bandwagon, going head-to-head with software and handset vendors.