Microsoft repackages popular websites as apps to fill out the Windows Phone Store

Microsoft's creating app-ified versions of mobile web sites in a bid to lure top services over to Windows Phone

Microsoft has been working hard to coax popular apps such asPandora and Tumblr over to Windows Phone in recent months, and in the coming days, Instagram and Flipboard will be the latest mega-popular smartphone apps added to that list. But despite the numerous big name "gets," Microsoft is still trailing Android and iOS when it comes to apps.

To skirt around its shortcomings, Microsoft is turning to creating "web apps" for a number of popular brands and websites. A new section on the Windows Phone Store called Microsoft WebApps, first spotted by ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, offers a number of downloadable, pinnable web apps that are basically app wrappers for popular websites, and nothing more. The hope is that WebApps for Windows Phone will encourage companies to develop full-blown native apps for Windows Phone.

Microsoft is currently offering more than 40 Web apps including Blockbuster, CarMax, Food Network, Glassdoor, Jimmy John's, Listverse, TMZ, and Orbitz. As the previous list suggests, Microsoft's WebApps are mostly mainstream retail outlets and some popular websites.

"These are not a replacement for native apps," a Microsoft spokesperson told ZDNet. "In most cases we hope that usage of the Web App will encourage the [website owner] to publish its own native app."

While web apps aren't a replacement for apps written in native code, they are a good stopgap to fill out any holes in the Windows Phone app catalog--but this approach can only take you so far. If a service doesn't have a well-supported mobile website that offers a similar experience to a native app, then there's little point to creating a pinnable web tile.

Nevertheless, a combined effort to woo developers over to Windows Phone with direct appeals and Web app development could help Microsoft in its quest for app parity with Android and iOS.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileMicrosoftinternetappsmobile applicationsBlockbusterPandoraFlipboardWindows PhoneInstagramTumblrwindows phone 8

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

TechHive (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?