Windows Phone 8 An Excellent Mobile OS

       For a smartphone operating-software maker whose name doesn’t rhyme with “Snapple” or “frugal,” success doesn’t come easy. The market is littered with companies that have succeeded in grabbing only a small number of users.

Microsoft approached its recent launch of Windows Phone 8 as a member of this brotherhood of stragglers. It had just 2 percent of the global smartphone market in the third quarter, according to data from IDC, compared with 75 percent for Android smartphones and 15 percent for the iPhone.

Fortunately for Microsoft, Windows Phone 8 is a strong effort. It’s snappy, easy to navigate and customize, and good-looking to boot—all traits that will help the company as it tries to surpass Research in Motion’s ailing BlackBerry and Nokia’s dying Symbian platforms.

But—and of course, there has to be a “but”—the operating system still faces an uphill battle to become a strong third-place player in the smartphone market, and the weakness of its app store won’t help.

If Microsoft wants to be taken seriously by consumers and app developers, it will have to make serious strides with its Windows Phone Store, which for now includes just a fraction of the apps available for Android and iOS. But Microsoft is an old hand when it comes to wooing developers, and Windows 8—its operating system for desktops and tablets—is designed to make it easier for developers to create software components that work on both mobile and conventional computers. So I’m going to bet they can do it, even if it may take some time.....

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