Microsoft, Symbian and Others Announce 'App Stores'

Fortune notes a string of announcements coming out of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona where it seems mobile app stores are on everyone's mind. DeWitt summarizes the headlines and notes that "now everyone has an App Store":

- Nokia's Ovi Store. An online app and media portal that comes "pre-integrated" on Nokia's (NOK) new N97 (right), but will be available for download on a slew of existing Nokia phones come May. (link)
- Windows Marketplace. Along with a new version of Windows Mobile, Microsoft (MSFT) announced Monday that it will open a new Windows Marketplace offering - you guessed it - 20,000 apps, some of which actually run on mobile devices.
- App Store for Symbian. PocketGear, which had previously built its own Palm App Store and an App Store for Windows Mobile, unveiled an App Store for Symbian, the operating system that runs Nokia's smartphones. How it will compete with the Ovi Store remains to be seen.
- Android Market. Google (GOOG) opened an application marketplace for the Android platform last October, but so far it has only accepted free apps. Look for an announcement from Google this week about how that's going to change.
- BlackBerry Applications Center. Research in Motion (RIMM) invited developers to submit programs to its forthcoming Applications Center in October. We may be hearing more this week about when that will open for business.
- Palm Software Store. This one went live in December with 2,000 apps and 1,000 free games available for download to both Palm (PALM) OS devices and Windows Mobile.

All of these companies are, of course, trying to emulate some of the breakaway success of the iTunes App Store, which now houses over 20,000 apps and over 500 million downloads.

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