The argument from both Apple and Google Android camps is that to succeed as an operating system, you need a wealth of phone applications. Developers by the hundreds are writing apps by the thousands, which Apple is selling by the millions. And Google's Android, while a distant second in the apps game, is catching up.
For its part, Microsoft is expected to unveil its own app store when the Windows Phone 7 is launched around Oct. 11. And even though Apple and Google are years ahead in the application development, Microsoft argues that the first movers don't necessarily have the advantage. Microsoft will likely identify the more popular apps, like they do in video games, and ask the developers to write Windows versions.
The upshot: Microsoft might be late to the two-player mobile race, but it brings too much cash and software strength to be completely shut out.
--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.
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