Microsoft has broken the 25,000 app barrier in the Windows Phone Marketplace, roughly half of which are free to download. The figure - which stands at 25,056 at time of writing - comes courtesy of software-tracker Windows Phone Applist, though Microsoft itself is yet to confirm the milestone.
Previous waypoints have included 9,000 applications in early March, growing to over 18,000 when the new online Windows Phone Marketplace portal was announced in late May. Back in October, at the WP7 launch, there were a mere 1,000 titles to choose from; now, Microsoft claims it has over 40,000 registered Windows Phone developers, and sees on average 100 new apps submitted each day.
While the app numbers game is often seen as a race - iPad-specific titles in the App Store exceeded 100,000 earlier this week - Microsoft has attempted to take a different strategy to plain catch-up. Rather than bulk, the company claims it's targeting quality: last month it changed Marketplace approval policy to cut down on so-called "bulk apps" - very similar titles from the same developer, which flood the store and as a result, Microsoft says, "degrades" the user-experience.
Back in 2009, researchers argued that despite the Apple App Store's overflowing content, a large number of the titles on offer were these "bulk apps" and that had led to misleading figures. Nokia's adoption of Windows Phone 7.1 Mango will likely bring a new flood of developers to the Microsoft platform, but in the end it doesn't really matter how many titles are on offer, only whether the apps users specifically want to download are present.