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Microsoft to open ‘app store’ in February

Microsoft began wooing developers for a February opening of its first “app store” for computers powered by the US technology giant’s Windows software.

The Windows Store will open in late February when Microsoft releases a test version of its next-generation Windows 8 operating system.

It will take on Apple and Google in the booming market of fun, hip or functional programs built for smartphones, tablets, or computers.

“I think we are going to do great,” Windows Web Services vice president Antoine Leblond said as he gave developers and press a preview of the store in a San Francisco art gallery.

“The reach of Windows is absolutely huge and can’t be matched,” he continued, noting that the Microsoft operating system powers more than a half billion computers around the world.

Independent developers understandably devote their limited resources to making programs for platforms that promise the most potential customers, and Windows would outshine Apple gadgets and Google Android devices in that regard.

“There are more Windows PCs than there are cars on the planet,” Mr Leblond said. “The number is staggering.”

However, Windows has a meager presence when it comes to smartphones and tablets, where third-party applications such as games are typically bought.

Applications written for the Windows Store platform will work on any devices powered by the Microsoft software, meaning programs could be downloaded to smartphones or tablet computers as they hit market.

Windows Store was pitched as a welcoming option to Apple App Store, which puts applications through a strict and sometimes enigmatic vetting process before approving them for virtual shelves.

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