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Reuters reports that Microsoft is showing some headway with its upcoming Windows Marketplace for Mobile. The company announced partnerships with Pandora, Facebook and the game wizards at Electronic Arts, among others, and will go ahead with plans to preview a demo version of the software store this week at CTIA.

(BTW, Noah’s flight to Las Vegas has landed and by now, he’s probably unpacking his vid cam and gear, so check back soon for all the cool show coverage you’ve come to expect from the Krav.)

When it comes to application marketplaces, you really can’t talk about them without mentioning Apple. By now, everyone knows that its real innovation wasn’t the iPhone, but its App Store. The 25,000+ software distribution point has spawned tons of imitators across different platforms, from the Android Marketplace to the upcoming Blackberry and Pre cellphone software stores. (Speaking of Blackberry, handset manufacturer Research In Motion is going to launch its own App World at CTIA as well.)

While Microsoft may not be leading the pack here, at least signs look good that it’s committed to creating a worthwhile experience for mobile end users. In addition to Pandora and the others mentioned above, look for Gameloft SA, Accuweather.com and MySpace to get in on the act. The company also expects many of its existing cellphone software partners (of which there are roughly 20,000) to submit stuff as well. Talk about an embarrassment of riches: That’s potentially a mountain of applications, and the marketplace hasn’t even launched yet. (If all goes according to plan, the store should have its grand opening in the second half of the year.)

Here are some other interesting nuggets from the Reuters article:
  • The store will work with WinMo 6.5, which is also slated for release later this year.
  • LG’s WinMo phones released at that time will have MySpace preloaded.
  • Microsoft will announce an alliance with fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, who will create customizable phone themes.
  • The company’s planning on enticing carriers by splitting the software revenue with them (after 70% goes to the developers) and enabling them to have their own stores within the marketplace.
If the last one pans out, says Reuters, then it may enable app purchases to show up on a user’s phone bill, to be paid along with other cell phone charges. That would actually be nice, instead of contending with tons of itty, bitty transactions. With 6.5 and a robust marketplace coming up, it looks like 2009 will be treating WinMo fans quite nicely, and that's just awesome. It's about time you guys got some rewards for all your loyalty.



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