Before Nokia's new fleet of Windows phones start moving globally, we should take a look at how the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace has preformed since it opened November of last year. Distimo has just put out a report called Windows Phone 7 Marketplace: One Year Later, which summarizes the size and trends of the WP7 marketplace. The report suggests that the marketplace is growing strongly, but obviously it still has a way to go before it catches up with the iPhone app store.
The report states that when the WP7 marketplace opened in November, the share of paid content was 70% of all app downloads, which remained constant until about February. The number of free applications started to grow exponentially from that point forward. You can see the dip in July, when Microsoft removed over a thousand free applications as part of a new policy which restricted developers from publishing no more than 20 applications with similar functionalities per day.
In the United States, The Windows Phone 7 Marketplace has 101k free downloads per day and 20k paid downloads per day in the top 300 most popular applications. Compared to the iPhone app store, 43 times more free applications were downloaded, and paid content is 16 times larger.
As you can see, Games takes the lead in both free and paid apps, followed by Tools & Productivity, Others, and Entertainment. It looks fairly consistent with reports we've seen about the iPhone and Android marketplaces.
To help enable growth in the WP7 marketplace, Nokia is taking some of their own steps somewhat apart from Microsoft. They created a new position to manage its "ecosystem", which is filled by Bertrand Dupuis (VP Ecosystems). He spoke a the Finland Software Day and described the modern war as not a manufacturer's battle, but an "ecosystem battle." Still, he described Nokia's role in the ecosystem as mainly providing support for Nokia features, like NFC, GPS, and helping integrate Nokia's music, video, and maps on top of that.
While this report shows signs that the WP7 marketplace may be reaching critical mass, developers still seem unconvinced there's a market for WP7 apps. What came first, the chicken or the egg?