MWC: Microsoft, Nokia launch mobile app stores

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MWC: Microsoft, Nokia launch mobile app stores

Microsoft and Nokia independently announced new mobile application stores at Mobile World Congress today in an attempt to mirror the success Apple enjoys with its iPhone app store.

Nokia's effort, named Ovi Store, will be available in May and offer a store of applications suitable for a wide range of Nokia handsets, including several entry-level models.

Ovum analyst Tony Cripps applauded Nokia's main point of differentiation - Ovi uses opt-in location and user-based information to deliver "a more personalised buying experience" than market rivals.

He did, however, express disappointment over the available payment options.

Nokia customers will buy using either operator billing or credit card processing rather than the 'more integrated experience' offered by Apple's store.

Developers of Nokia applications are invited to submit their wares at http://publish.ovi.com.

Microsoft, meanwhile, announced a widely anticipated application store in tandem with the release of its new mobile operating system, Windows Mobile 6.5.

Named Windows Marketplace for Mobile, the app store is intended to offer a one-stop shop for users to browse, purchase, download and install applications for Windows-based phones.

Natasha Kwan, general manager of Microsoft's communications division in Asia Pacific region said there have always been sites where users could download Microsoft applications (such as Windows Mobile Catalog, for example) but the software giant has only recently realised the demand for a single, integrated store.

Microsoft is yet to divulge launch details for its app store.

Brett Winterford reports live and exclusively from Mobile World Congress for iTnews.

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