Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is a little more than three weeks away from launching its new Windows 8 operating system, and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a public appeal to app developers last week to send in submissions to be run on the new OS. But critics say the boss might be a little late, and that Windows 8 won’t be fully ready by the time of the launch. Will that matter for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and its investors, like billionaire fund manager David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital, or is this just a move to drum up enthusiasm generally about the new mobile competitor?
In a recent article, it was postulated by several critics that Ballmer’s outreach to app developers is too little too late for the on-time launch of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) in the mobile space with Windows 8. One analyst stated that in order for Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) to make a respectable showing in the marketplace, it would need about 5,000 apps available in its store; at last estimate, there seems to be only about 2,500 such apps in the store entering the final 25 days before the official launch. However, it seems that Ballmer’s plea may be too late, or at least not very inspiring, as a recent survey of app developers showed that only about a third of developers were “very interested” in developing apps for Windows 8, while at least five of six were interested in iOS and/or Android operating systems by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), respectively.
“Microsoft has put a big burden on Windows 8 and Windows RT,” said Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy. “They have to have a large number of high-quality apps. … I’ve said 5,000 is a reasonable number … to be successful at launch. They don’t need 100,000, but they need a decent number.” In the same breath, though, Moorhead acknowledged that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) does not have short-term game plans for its new products.
“They’re thinking long-term,” said Moorhead. “Microsoft and their partners are taking a long-term view of this. What’s important [to them] is getting Windows into mobility. They’re not too concerned about making that first impression [at launch].”
Is Microsoft’s long-time strategy still effective in mobile, or is Ballmer making a mistake with this approach?