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Microsoft drives Windows 7 app innovation

Company begins competition for locally-based developers to create UAE-centric apps

Microsoft drives Windows 7 app innovation
Microsoft’s competition for UAE-based developers to create compelling, locally relevant apps for the Windows 7 OS is now open.

Microsoft's competition for UAE-based developers to create compelling, locally relevant apps for the Windows 7 OS is now open. The competition winner will receive a trip to the Seychelles and winners will be announced on 20th December.

"The Microsoft Tech Out competition is a race to build the most compelling applications and the most relevant to our marketplace. We had well over 250 people register for the competition and over 85 were in attendance at the launch. The attendees were from various demographics; hobbyists, enthusiasts, enterprise accounts, partners, we even saw students and faculties," said Michael Mansour, group director, developer and platform technologies for Microsoft Gulf.

The competition is open until mid-December and Microsoft has already received one app submission.

The goal of the competition is to create a locally relevant selection of apps for Windows Phone 7.

"We think that Windows Phone 7 is the next wave of a very important platform for both enterprise and consumers, and it is a chance to build out the applications that are most relevant for our marketplace here," said Mansour.

So far, Microsoft has developed around 10 apps for the Windows 7 platform, these include; a Time Out Dubai app on Windows 7, which allows users to search for restaurants by cuisine, restaurant name, price and area; a localised Aramex app, and a Cinedubai app, which allows users to look up movies and see what films are playing at what cinemas.

Microsoft said that by the end of 2011 it expects conservatively to have another 20 to 30 localised apps up and running.

"Just as recently as yesterday a student submitted an app for emergency numbers in the UAE. Coming from the US an emergency number is just 911, but here you have a range of numbers for emergency services," said Mansour.

Microsoft said that it is very stringent in terms of compliance and all apps must stick to the terms of the Microsoft Marketplace and must also comply with Yalla Apps regulations. Apps can be rejected because of things as subtle as the size of user interface tiles being wrong, to something as important and critical as bugs or memory issues.

If an app passes the testing phase, and qualifies in terms of compliance, it could be online within a week, according to Microsoft.

"We have today well over 30,000 apps and if you look at iPhone and Android, there are somewhere over 400,000 apps between them. One might argue that that is a rich slew of apps, but if you look more closely at the numbers, 90% of the most downloaded apps apply to both. Microsoft has covered the depth of applications and the ones that are most relevant to consumers and I think the breadth is coming slowly. We want to make the marketplace as rich and valuable to users as possible," said Mansour.

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