For many markets around the world, this week marks the beginning of the most frenetic shopping season of the year. It’s no accident that Microsoft has been more visible than usual. The holiday shopping season is a major focus for us, as evidenced by Windows 7 and Bing campaigns as well as the introductions of exciting new products in Kinect for Xbox 360 and of course Windows Phone 7. We know that many Windows Phone developers have gone to great lengths to ensure that their apps and games are in Windows Phone Marketplace this holiday season as well.
We’re heading into one of the biggest shopping weeks of the year and we’re on pace to offer roughly 3,000 apps and games by the end of this week. We’ve also seen a near 80% increase in the number of registered developers since September, with more than 15,000 developers already signaling their intent to bring exciting content to Windows Phone. Clearly we’re just getting warmed up.
The developer community is placing some big bets with Windows Phone this holiday, so I want to take a minute to highlight a few things we’re doing to further promote their apps and games.
1. Find Windows Phone 7 Apps & Games on Bing Visual Search (pictured): We’re using our own popular Bing decision engine to further showcase developers’ Windows Phone 7 apps through Bing’s Visual Search capabilities in the US and UK. This allows anyone with a browser to easily find, view and access the growing list of apps and games available for Windows Phones.
2. Promoting Windows Phone 7 Apps & Games on Xbox 360 (pictured): Last week Microsoft announced that it had sold more than 1 million Kinect devices for Xbox 360 in the first 10 days of availability, adding to the 45 million Xbox 360 consoles already sold. Windows Phone devices, apps and games are now prominent features of the Xbox dashboard that people see on their televisions when they start Xbox and view tabs such as the Spotlight category.
3. Windows Phone 7 Apps & Games on Windowsphone.com (pictured). Microsoft.com is one of the most frequented portals on the Web and Windowsphone.com is the starting point for all things Windows Phone. This site now features an “apps” tab that takes viewers to a Marketplace page that delivers a dynamic list of “featured” and “top free” apps and games. Furthermore, these lists are localized for several markets including: Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, U.K., and the U.S.
4. Campaigns featuring Windows Phone 7 Apps & Games. The introduction of Windows Phone 7 is being supported by an extensive marketing and advertising campaign in several major markets around the world. Apps, games and Marketplace are prominent features of our integrated communication activity.
5. Windows Phone Marketplace on Zune PC software (pictured). With the international expansion of the Zune music and video service on Xbox LIVE, Windows PC and of course Windows Phone, the Zune PC software is now on more screens and in more markets than ever. With every update and download of the Zune PC software, customers are seeing the latest music, videos and apps for Windows Phone in a single well organized desktop experience.
In addition to the things we’re doing to promote apps and games for Windows Phone 7, we’ve added a few features that developers can use to better market their apps and games. For example, developers can now add “deep links” to their Web sites and other marketing material, taking customers directly to the specific app or game purchase page, on either their phone or the Zune PC software, in a single click.
Developers can take advantage of deep linking by installing the Download Now Kit.
This is just a sample of the type of work we’re doing to get apps and games in front of customers. We will continue to generate more visibility in more markets across all of the screens that people rely on throughout their daily lives. Developers and the apps they create are central to the Windows Phone experience and we’re doing our best to show people that Windows Phone 7 features a great list of quality apps that take advantage of the phones unique features to extend the phone experience.