The app race is heating up, and Microsoft is playing to its biggest strength: attracting the business crowd. The company announced today that the Windows Marketplace for Mobile will begin accepting application apps starting July 27, in advance of its launch in the fall, which will coincide with the launch of Windows Mobile 6.5. However, 6.5 users aren’t the only ones who will be able to join in on the fun. The Marketplace will also support Windows Mobile 6.0 and 6.1 devices by the end of the year. The most interesting bit of news is that Microsoft’s app store will have a dedicated Business Center, which makes sense given the heavy concentration of Fortune 500 companies and mobile professionals that have embraced the platform. It’s almost as if Windows Mobile team read Joshua Topolsky’s stinging commentary over at Engadget last week on how the iPhone doesn’t cut it as a work device. So what does this Business Center bring to the table? Although Microsoft claims that the Marketplace will carry apps from top publishers in gaming, social networking, media, and entertainment, a chief focus will be business apps. Leading biz developers participating in the Business Center are Avanade UK (IT consulting); Formotus (powerful mobile forms); Illium Software (eWallet, ListPro); Pyxis Mobile (mobile sales), and WebIS (Pocket Informant) No, business apps aren’t nearly as sexy as 3D games. But Microsoft’s hope is that the iPhone will be the platform for playing Paper Toss, and Windows Mobile will be the go-to app store for getting serious work done. .