Where Are the Apps? Windows 8 Launch Event Disappoints

Microsoft did a great job at its Windows 8 launch event demonstrating what makes Windows 8 unique and exciting. It also wowed the crowd with cool new designs, from slates with pens to Ultrabooks with screens that flip around. The app story fell flat though. Where is Facebook? Twitter? Angry Birds? Instead, we saw demos of just three third-party apps most people already knew about.

The Hulu app looked cool on stage at Microsoft’s event, with smooth playback of a Fringe episode. We especially like how you can Snap the window to the side while you check email. Urbanspoon had a pretty panoramic interface for looking up places to eat and then sharing recommendations with friends via the Charms menu. The Jetpack Joyride game didn’t wow; it looks pretty much like what you’ll find on Windows Phone. 

Of course, Microsoft bundles a lot of its own compelling apps with Windows 8 to get people started, including its gorgeous Bing News, Sports, Travel and other apps. There’s also SkyDrive, Skype and Xbox for music, videos, and games. But Windows 8 needs the big-name developers to get shoppers on board, and the lack of their presence here was pretty shocking.

Steve Sinofsky, senior VP for Windows and Windows Live, says the Windows Store has more apps than any competing store had it’s opening. That may be true. But when you’re competing with 275,000 iPad apps, that doesn’t seem like enough. Microsoft showed the tiles of some apps that we didn’t know about before, such as Nook, Amazon Instant Video, ABC and New York Times, though not the apps themselves. 

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said “developers are working fast and furiously.” However, if they’ve been working on apps for over a year, why didn’t Microsoft let more of them show their wares for an OS whose success depends on them?

Earlier in the event Sinofsky said, “we know some people might count apps and look for their favorite apps. We see today as a grand opening?” I’d say it was less grand than I was hoping for.

Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
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  1. Joe Says:

    Jesus Christ on a cracker!!! Do you expect a platform to have a million apps overnight? The Windows Store will catch the Ipad app store within 2 years. But to expect it to compete immediately at launch is ridiculous. Stop whining.

    As for Facebook and Twitter, they both are fully integrated in the People Hub. There isn’t going to be Facebook or Twitter apps because you can use the integration in People Hub or you can pin the Facebook and Twitter website tiles to your start screen and use them like the other 1.3 billion people use them on Windows.

  2. Joe 2 Says:

    The Joe above said it spot on! You need a Facebook and Twitter “App” on a mobile phone… but we’re talking about desktops and tablets here!!! If you want Facebook, you go to http://www.facebook.com and view the full proper superior desktop version instead of the cutdown crappy phone version!!!

  3. David Says:

    Have you even visited the App store?

    Facebook: You don’t need a Facebook app because it’s built into every facet of the operating system. I can even browse my Facebook photo albums from the “File” menu within the file system. Same for Flickr.

    Angry Birds: The app store has Angry Birds in Space.

    Twitter: Just like Facebook, Twitter is built in to the OS. And there’s about a dozen other apps that tie into Twitter.

    Hell, even Bank of America has a native Windows 8 app and it’s gorgeous. I can use the device’s camera to deposit checks!

  4. joe 3 Says:

    Well the Apple products and Android products came out first. So as the xbox people would say based on their logic, this is going to fail because it came out later.

    All in all, I’m interested to see how they plan to implement Windows 8 on the Business Side with NAS/SAN storage and other products tying in, like their Hypervisor and Exchange. Should be interesting to see, as well since Windows has been really trying to compete with VMware with their own products…

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