Windows 8 and RT users can now shop for more than 50,000 apps.
Microsoft's Windows Store hit that milestone this past weekend, according to data from MetroStore Scanner, a Web site that monitors the number of apps on the store's virtual shelves.
The Windows Store got off to a slow start when it first opened for business around a year ago. Microsoft was challenged trying to convince enough developers to design apps for the new and unproven operating system. A month before Windows 8 and RT officially launched last October, the store housed only around 2,000 apps.
But that number quickly ramped up. By the time Windows 8 launched a month later, the number of apps had risen to 8,000. The number continued to jump, reaching around 35,000 at the start of the year before adding another 15,000 since then.
Still, quantity doesn't necessarily mean quality. How many of those 50,000 apps are actually worth downloading? I've found a variety of well-designed apps that take nice advantage of the Windows 8 environment. Those include fresh, new apps as well as innovative takes on existing mobile apps. But I've also run into many that I quickly deleted after trying once.
Like Windows 8 itself, many of the apps work best on a touch-screen device, leaving traditional PC users with little or no incentive to download them.
Microsoft clearly feels the need to generate more apps. The company's latest endeavor, dubbed "Keep the Cash," rewards developers with $100 for each Windows 8 app they deliver, up to a total of 10. The promotion started earlier this month and runs until June 30.
Microsoft's challenge, however, is to fill store shelves with quality as well as quantity. What the company should offer at this point is a contest that rewards developers who design the best apps.