Windows 8 apps store cracks 20,000, most of them free

Microsoft's app store hits 20,000 app toward its goal of 100,000 within three months of Windows 8's launch.

While 20,000 apps in an online store may seem paltry compared to the more than 700,000 apps in Apple's store and more than 600,000 apps in Google Play, for an upstart in the app trade like Microsoft, the milestone is significant.

Microsoft broke the 20,000 mark on Tuesday, according to Directions on Microsoft Windows app store watcher Wes Miller. Nearly 18,000, or 87 percent, of those apps are free, according to Miller.

Those are worldwide numbers. The total number of apps available within regions vary. For example, the Canadian Windows 8 app store has some 14,000 programs, while the U.S. has 12,675; and the U.K., some 11,000.

What must be heartening for Microsoft is the velocity at which apps are being added to its online market: some 500 new apps appear each day, according to The Next Web.

At that rate, the store could reach 40,000 apps by the end of the year. Moreover, that climb should remain steep as buyers of new Windows PCs during the holiday season hunt for apps for their new computers for weeks to come, and developers feverishly seek to meet that demand.

Nevertheless, app uploads must accelerate even more for Microsoft to meet its goal of 100,000 apps in the store within 90 days from the launch of Windows 8 on October 26.

Comparing the number of apps in the Windows 8 store to the Apple App Store and Google Play can be misleading, though, since those outlets service mobile devices. A more suitable comparison might be made between the Windows store and Apple's Mac App Store. From January 2011 to April 2012, only 10,000 apps were added to that Apple outlet.

Uploads at the Windows 8 app store have been a source of controversy for Microsoft in recent days. The sudden departure of the top dog in Microsoft's Windows division, Steven Sinofsky, was attributed by some Redmond watchers to Sinofsky's conflicts with CEO Steve Ballmer over the pace of growth at the app outlet.

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Tags business issueswindows phone 8Windows 8GoogleMicrosoftWindowssoftwarebusinessoperating systemsApple

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