Microsoft is promoting a study by a third party research group, Crimson Consulting, that documents how developers can port applications they have developed for the iPhone over to Windows Marketplace for Mobile. Although Microsoft’s rival app store is not scheduled to open until late this year, the company is hoping the study will entice developers and bring competitive variety to the store.

The report centers on the iPhone app Amplitude, which turns audible recordings into graphical displays. According to Microsoft, Amplitude was an ideal app for the study because it is the type of high-quality app the company is hoping to have in its upcoming Windows Marketplace for Mobile. “It combines a rich user interface with features such as alpha blending (a computer graphics technique in which an image is combined with a background image) and transparency with specific audio and sound requirements, which makes it challenging to port the app but, at the same time, provides a number of helpful learning experiences,” said Constanze Roman, a Windows Mobile community team manager.

Microsoft is late to the app store game, but its store will have some features that could give it an edge. By allowing users with older versions of Windows Mobile to access the store, it has created a ready audience of 30 million smartphone users for developers. This audience is comparable or slightly higher than the number iPhone users. Also, users can buy apps by credit card or through their carrier bill and can return apps within 24 hours if they chose.

The fact that Microsoft needs a special study and app store for ported iphone apps suggests they will perhaps always be riding behind the iPhone in app development. Nevertheless, 30 million Windows Mobile users will soon have a place to find apps and developers have a huge new audience.

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By Mielle Sullivan, Janus Networks