No third-party application marketplace for the Zune, should “plug” into Windows Marketplace for Mobile in the future

According to Microsoft’s Zune marketing manager Brian Seitz, the newly launched Zune HD will not have a third-party application marketplace. Microsoft is going to develop in-house application at first (like twitter, facebook apps etc..) and if all goes as planned, the Zune team may be able to tap into the Windows Mobile Marketplace in the future for third-party apps. This would confirm that Windows Mobile 7 may get full Zune integration (and maybe the same UI) when it comes out later in 2010. Here’s what Techflash reported:

At the same time, Microsoft is promising to come out with Facebook and Twitter applications for the Zune HD by the end of the year, in addition to new games for the device. The company is not, however, launching a full, open third-party application marketplace for the Zune, contrary to speculation. That leaves the rival iPod touch with an advantage on that front.

Microsoft will create a limited number of apps itself or work closely with selected companies to bring apps to the device, said Zune marketing manager Brian Seitz. The move builds on a limited selection of games previously introduced for Zune.

Why no open application marketplace for the Zune? Seitz noted that the Windows Mobile group is already working on a mobile application marketplace. Even though Zune isn’t currently taking advantage of that fact, he said, the company wants to avoid an overlap between the two development teams.

“We’re trying to get out of the business of building similar things in the company that don’t work together, and the Windows Mobile team is tackling the challenge of a mobile apps marketplace right now,” Seitz said. “We don’t necessarily line up perfectly with that, to take advantage of whatever ends up coming out of that from the Zune HD standpoint, but down the line if there’s a way that we can plug into what they’re doing, I’m sure we’ll look into whether that makes sense for the business.”

Until they reach that point, the Zune team “didn’t want to basically just say, ‘We got nothin’ ” in terms of apps, Seitz explained. That’s why it’s planning to offer the limited selection of apps, which will be available for free. Games will include versions of “Project Gotham Racing,” “Audiosurf Tilt,” and others.

It’s also noted that all apps should be free. Check this Q&A

Q: What’s happening with apps?

A: In the marketplace you’ll see an apps tab on the device and in the software.

Last year our apps were games. We introduced a bundle of games in the update, which was convenient but also really painful because the download was really big. So we stripped those out. Now they’re a side-load experience through the software in the marketplace or on the device.

When it comes to apps on Zune on the 15th what you’ll see is primarily games. We’re refreshing a lot of the games to take advantage of the multitouch. Casual games. plus a couple of apps like the weather app and calculator. Plus we’re building a Twitter (app), a Facebook (app) and a bunch of 3D games like “Project Gotham Racing” that will come out in November.
All of our apps are free … and it’s a managed solution right now, so we’re building these apps or working with third parties to build these apps and provide them to our customers for free.

Q: Will it open up for third-party app developers?

A: It’s hard to say right now. If you look around the company at other places where things like this are important, Windows Mobile rises to the top. They have devices which are always connected, which make applications like maps really cool and important.

On a sometimes-connected device, what people are using them for are games. So what we didn’t want to do was build two parallel app store experiences that didn’t work together.

Right now our product roadmaps didn’t line up perfectly for us to snap to what they’re doing or vice versa. That being said, we know people want things like this on their devices so we’re going to build them ourselves, they’re going to be super high-quality, and they’re going to be free.

Down the road if there’s a way we can work with Windows Mobile or another group inside the company that’s building an app store and take advantage of that, that’s something we’ll look into.

In Short: Microsoft’s mobile strategy is totally messed up. Windows Mobile 7 is so late it ain’t funny anymore. Now the Zune HD won’t get a really appstore until it’s all sorted out… the future.
Source: TechFlash & Seattle Times