Windows Phone has established itself as that third ecosystem Steve Ballmer always wanted, but it still lags a long way behind Android and iOS both in market share and the overall selection of apps available to users.
But the powers that be need to watch their mirrors, as Microsoft VP and Windows Phone boss Joe Belfiore is promising the “app-gap” behind the big two will be gone by the end of next year.
The Windows Phone Store covers nearly all the main bases, but while each big-name app released on WP represents another hole filled in – the official Instagram app launched this week, for instance – it also reminds everyone that the holes still exist in the first place.
And of course, the more top apps not present, the tougher it is for WP to attract new users, which means less incentive for developers to write the apps in the first place, and so it goes on.
But none of that seems to bother Belfiore, who announced on Twitter: “we're all gonna look back at the end of 2014 as the ending of the app-gap for Windows Phone. The 3rd ecosystem is decidedly here!”
How's it going to happen? Joe ain't telling but the obvious solution is for Microsoft to throw money at the problem – Android and iOS aren't going to give away their lead, after all.
Or maybe Belfiore is simply of the belief that by the end of 2014, Windows Phone's steady growth, albeit slow, will have taken its market share to the tipping point where it becomes too important for developers to ignore – if such a tipping point truly exists.
Or maybe it's something else entirely. But it's a risky game making such bold predictions about the future, especially using such a high-profile soapbox as Twitter has become these days.
Hopefully Belfiore won't be forced to eat his words equally publicly.