Windows Phone users should be noticing a couple changes to how Microsoft’s Marketplace works, going into effect today. While ultimately, everything Microsoft’s doing is just removing existing functionality, it doesn’t seem like the changes involved will have a negative impact on the vast majority of users. You may have to adjust your habits a little, but it should be pretty painless. Just what’s changing?
Right now, you can browse through apps right from your smartphone, using the Zune software on your PC, or by going to the Marketplace website. Microsoft is trying to simplify Marketplace upkeep for itself, so out of those three, it’s cutting Windows Phone app support from the Zune client. Frankly, that makes a lot of sense, since you’d always be in a position to just pull up a browser window instead of the Zune app, and if this means that Microsoft can also do a better job administrating the Marketplace, so much the better.
The other half of the news has to do with those of you who have been living under a rock since last year and have yet to update your phones to Windows Phone 7.5 Mango. Microsoft is now disabling Marketplace access for phones running older builds of the OS. The company offers that this decision will enable it to improve Marketplace security and performance, but frankly, “because we said so” would have sufficed; at this point, if you’re that resistant to the idea of Mango, you’ve probably got larger issues with your smartphone experience than just Marketplace access.