The last few app store launches we've seen were plagued by the same problem: a dearth of stuff that's at all new, or that anyone, you know, wants. Microsoft's novel idea to avoid this same problem? Port some iPhone apps!
The company posted a third-party case study on their Developer Network, which explains, step by step, how an app—Amplitude, a simple sound amplifier—can be ported from iPhone OS to Windows Mobile. The process isn't perfect, leaving Windows Mobile users with a jankier UI and, as is often the case, a limited list of compatible devices, but the important thing is, it works.
So yes, ho ho, Microsoft wants also-ran apps for its also-ran app store, but this is actually a great thing. For Windows Mobile users, obviously, but for iPhone owners too. If releasing a Windows Mobile version of your app alongside the original iPhone version (or vice versa) is a trivial process, then app writers suddenly have a much larger install base to tap into, which could draw more money, manpower and creativity into development. Progress by regress, or something. Note: A code-savvy commenter has pointed out that the porting process was far from "trivial," so that dream, at best, is miles off. Which makes this MSDN posting slightly saddening. [MSDN via PCWorld]