Zune HD: No App Store for You

Microsoft's new Zune HD may be designed to compete with the iPod touch, but it's missing one feature that makes Apple's portable media player so enticing: an app store with third-party software titles. The Zune HD won't be getting its own application store, either, according to TechFlash, because Microsoft is instead working on an app purchasing system for its Windows Mobile platform instead.

Zune marketing manager Brian Seitz commented "We're trying to get out of the business of building similar things in the company that don't work together, and the Windows Mobile team is tackling the challenge of a mobile apps marketplace right now."

The Windows Mobile efforts don't include Zune HD support, so for now that means Zune owners are limited to using just the apps that Microsoft bundles with their media player.

That doesn't, however, mean that Zune HD owners won't ever get additional applications. Microsoft is planning on releasing Facebook and Twitter applications by the end of the year, and it is apparently working with software developers to bring a few apps and games to the media player, too.

While Microsoft is working to avoid overlapping its internal development projects, it's missing out on the compelling draw that is Apple's App Store. The iTunes-based service brings thousands of applications to iPhone and iPod touch owners in the form of productivity applications, data management tools, financial management apps, communication and social networking, and the all important games -- a big draw for many iPod touch owners.

If Microsoft's intent was to focus on the interests of music lovers that want to carry their favorite songs in their pocket instead of people that want to use their media player as a pocket computer, the company may have been better served by positioning the Zune HD as an iPod nano competitor instead.