The new Windows Marketplace

Congratulations to Microsoft for finally getting the new Windows Marketplace up and running. Windows Marketplace has long been a site where Microsoft-certified ISVs could hawk their wares. It's never been a huge draw due to smaller-than-expected uptake and a less-than-simple buying process. Microsoft announced its intention to fix and redesign Marketplace late last year, and it's finally finished the job.

The new Windows Marketplace is like a highly organized bazaar of XP-compatible software. Its search engine covers more than 150,000 products in their entirety, of which about 60,000 are downloadable titles. Loads of these are purchase-only, but the site has always highlighted free downloads, too, and will continue to do so. Right now, for example, there's a photo management suite that's freely available from Shutterfly. Microsoft also says that it'll have some stuff up there soon that will sport a design look similar to that of Vista's Aero interface.

A brand new addition to the Marketplace is Microsoft's new Digital Locker. At first blush this sounds like a customer-convenience tool -- a secure area within the Marketplace to store customer information and preferences. But it's really a selling aid for smaller Microsoft ISVs.

Although it isn't presented the same way, you can think of this as being similar to the purchase tracking feature on Buy or peruse a few things there and Amazon remembers what you were interested in and presents similar products to you in subsequent visits. Microsoft hopes its version will allow smaller marketing-challenged ISVs to use the Marketplace to get their products advertised in front of targeted audiences. The locker also offers secure and streamlined software download services, so these same small ISVs don't have to worry about CD or packaging costs.

Overall, it's great stuff, but my sys admin alarm bells are still going off. One of the chief mental hurdles my users have to downloading and installing unsupported software via their wild and wooly Internet links is that they're not certain whether it'll run right. If they "break" their desktop, then tech services will know why and fur will start flying.

But now, Marketplace has essentially become a massive one-stop quick-shop for everything from games to media management to additional productivity software. And although lots of it costs, it often doesn't cost that much --and a whole mess of it is entirely free. When my users figure this out, I can see a bunch of the more daring ones cruising around the Marketplace looking for interesting downloads.

True, it's not much different than CNet's download site or Tucows, but seeing that Microsoft-approved logo is going to embolden those that might have shied away from other sites. I'll have to see how this plays out, but there may be some anti-.exe group-policy work coming my way in the near future.

The flip side, of course, is that as a sys admin, Marketplace has the potential to be a real treasure trove. Its wide variety combined with its ability to allow customers to evaluate software products right there on the site means we can look for new tools in the same place that we can discuss them with other Microsoftees.

Yeah, it's a double-standard, but nobody said life was fair.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Oliver Rist

Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?