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FEEDBACK: Microsoft answers to the Marketplace for Mobile localization issue
Posted by Arne Hess - on Thursday, 08.10.09 - 17:37:39 CET under 02 - Windows Mobile News - Viewed 16318x
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Together with the worldwide Windows Mobile 6.5 (now better known as Windows phone) launch on Tuesday, Microsoft also launched its Windows Marketplace for Mobile, which gives Windows phone users an easy to access and preinstalled localized online shopping resource for Windows Mobile applications! However, Windows Marketplace for Mobile comes with some developer restrictions which also hits the end-user hard. With the initial Windows Marketplace registration, developers have access to one localized Marketplace only and every extra localization (or country - however you want) costs the developer an extra fee of US$ 10.

On the left the US American Marketplace, on the right the German Marketplace with a different amount of available applications.

However, to get an application listed on several country Marketplaces, each app has to be truly localized; it's not possible to submit an English application for the French, German and Spanish Marketplace as well but this application needs to get a French, German and Spanish language localization. As a matter of fact, this has major financial impacts for developers because Microsoft is verifying this localization, in addition to the general functionality; a simple Google translation wouldn't help at all as well as such a simple translation would have major drawback on the quality of the user experience.

At the end of the day, this means that many developers won't localize their applications to foreign languages and therefore great applications will never make it to local Marketplaces. On the other hand this also means, customers and users will not be able to get access to these applications because Microsoft is always offering the local Marketplace in dependency of the mobile network/location the user comes from.

When we discussed this issue with Microsoft during the recent Windows phone press event in Germany, we got the feedback from a Microsoft employee:

"Microsoft is aware of this problem. However, for the launch it wasn't possible to change this Marketplace Mobile behavior but Microsoft will introduce a solution later which will allow the end-user to switch Marketplaces".

This means that a French, German or Spanish user will be able to access the US English Marketplace (and vice versa) as well. At least, this workaround will give end-users the full access to all available Windows phone applications, however the Microsoft employee also made clear that "it's not yet planned to list all available applications in a single Marketplace".

There's no official confirmation available yet, all we have is the word from Microsoft but it's quite obvious that Microsoft has to solve this problem, to offer its Windows phone customers the broadest possible range of applications.

Cheers ~ Arne


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