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Windows Marketplace only for Windows Mobile 6.5 and up

Windows Marketplace for MobileMicrosoft is preparing to launch Windows Marketplace for mobile phones. The Marketplace is Microsoft's answer to the iPhone App Store. It will allow Windows Mobile users to find purchase, and download mobile applications directly from their phones. But as we discovered this week, the service will only be available to users with Windows Mobile 6.5 phones. Microsoft has no plans to release a version of Windows Mobile 6.0, 6.1, or older devices despite the fact that millions of people already have mobile devices with older versions of Microsoft's mobile operating system.

Unlike Apple, Microsoft also doesn't make it easy to upgrade from one version of Windows Mobile to the next. It's typically up to the phone manufacturers and wireless carriers to decide whether an upgrade will be available and the upgrade procedure can be cumbersome, to say the least. So odds are if you don't get a new phone running Windows Mobile 6.5 you won't be able to use Windows Marketplace.

That said, this isn't the first controversy surrounding the Windows Marketplace. Microsoft initially told developers that they'd have to pay a fee every time they issued an update for an application listed in the Marketplace. But after receiving strong criticism, Microsoft backed down. Maybe if there's a large enough stink around the Windows Mobile 6.5 requirement, Microsoft will come up with a way to let users with older phones use the Windows Mobile Marketplace.

Tags: windows-marketplace, windows-mobile, windows-mobile-6.5

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