Windows Phone apps now total 11,500 'without padding'

But some developers want app revenue numbers, too

Microsoft bragged Thursday about growth in its Windows Phone 7 (WP7) developer community one year after its birth, but immediately got blasted for not disclosing developer revenues.

Windows Phone now has 36,000 members who have paid $99 to join the community, although free WP7 tools have been downloaded 1.5 million times, Windows Phone Senior Director Brandon Watson wrote in a blog. Another 1,200 developers are being added every week, he said.

Watson also said there now 11,500 paid and free apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace, and he took a swipe at other app stores who he said inflate their numbers by including wallpaper apps or double count apps that appear in two languages.

"Our ecosystem generated 10,000 apps faster than anyone else, without padding the stats," Watson said.

Regarding developer revenues, Watson said nearly 7,500 are paid apps, while 1,100 generate developer revenue through advertising.

Admitting that "most developers we speak to are concerned with making money," he added that "many are telling us that they are seeing more revenue on our platform than competing platforms despite the fact we cannot yet match the sheer number of handsets being sold."

Windows Phone 7 devices have only been on sale about four months, he noted.

Without specific revenue numbers, a few registered developers criticized Watson's missive. "Hate to say it (and I appreciate the effort), but there is only one number that actually matters: REVENUE," wrote lstroud in a comment on the Microsoft blog. "You could talk about units sold to end users or paid apps downloaded... If the revenue for developers does not come...the OS will die. The real question is how long do people continue to invest in the platform without revenue numbers."

Several developers also praised the WP7 developer tools and Watson's update, but one worried that Microsoft isn't moving fast enough with Windows Phone innovations and seems to be working at a slower pace than Microsoft is accustomed to using with products for enterprise users.

"It seems like Windows Phone is being handled much like other enterprise products are handled [with] yearly or half-yearly cycles," wrote usctrojan98. "Those just don't cut it in consumer-land. We need fast, frequent updates and we always are ready for changes, unlike enterprise. Please tell me/us that there is something to look forward to between [now] and the end of the year. Otherwise, I am pretty close to giving up on this exciting platform and go with the tried-and-tested iOS."

Watson said he's most excited that 40 per cent of registered developers have published their apps, although he recognized another 60 per cent have not.

(The number of apps, at 11,500, when compared with the number of registered developers, at 36,000, would indicate the registered developers who have published apps is less than 33 per cent -- below the 40 per cent that Watson claimed. Microsoft officials could be reached to explain the contradiction.)

Noting the 40-60 split on developers who have published or not, Watson added, "That's incredibly exciting when you consider the amount of creativity which is still forthcoming."

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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