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5 Things Microsoft Can Do to Hurt Apple, Android

Stocks in this article: MSFT GOOG AAPL NOK P FB

Even when I am serious with TellMe, it rarely produces anything more than a basic local Bing search on commands such as a "Find an Italian restaurant." And Bing's local feature flat-out stinks. Why doesn't TellMe route the user to the superior "Local Scout" app featured on my Lumia?

When I asked for "directions to LAX," it spit out a completely useless Bing search. For these common requests, TellMe has to do something other than waste my time.

Second, Microsoft needs to straighten out its App Marketplace. Like TellMe, it stinks.

While it's not the end of the world -- you can still get what you need quickly and easily, especially if you know your way around a smartphone -- it's attention to detail that makes Apple the pioneering leader it is.

When I look for apps on my Lumia, I have to search through absolute garbage to get to popular and useful apps I might actually want to download. And because the Surface tablet will use the Windows Marketplace as its app store, it better improve exponentially between now and launch.

Case in point: when you view the list of apps the Lumia places under "Music," you get nothing but junk. You have to scroll for far too long before something like Spotify or Slacker shows up. I gave up, manually searched for "Spotify" and "Slacker" and downloaded them to my phone. Worse yet, Pandora (P) is not even available.

And the popular apps Windows Phone does have lack. The Facebook (FB) app it delivers is an embarrassment.

I have seen Windows supporters boast about how many apps Microsoft has in the Windows Marketplace. Microsoft must not run this race. Focus on quality, not quantity.

I would rather have the 500 most popular apps -- expertly polished -- than thousands of inferior apps that do nothing but keep me from what I am looking for. Here's hoping Microsoft is on the phone with companies like Pandora asking for an app and strong developers asking for better apps before Windows 8-based smartphones and the Surface tablet hits the market.

Reasons to Integrate

Millions of people already have Windows-based PCs. Millions more will likely receive an Ultrabook running Windows 8 over the next six-to-12 months. And there should be more than a few Surface tablets under Christmas trees. Consider it the Kindle Fire of 2012.

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