An Australian company has seized the opportunity to be one of the first in the world's newest app marketplace, the Windows Store launched along with Windows 8 last week.
Travel website Webjet was at first reluctant to develop an app for a platform that hadn't yet been proven, according to Graeme Strange, managing director of Readify, the Melbourne-based company that built the app. But the opportunity to offer flight and accommodation bookings in the same window and build travel itineraries using touch across phone, tablet and PC, won the deal.
Apps such as Netflix for video on demand, Angry Birds for gaming, and Skype are already available on the Windows Store, but Mr Strange said it lacked the productivity apps craved by Microsoft's bread-and-butter corporate customer base.
Readify has also built a proof-of-concept CrimeStoppers app for Queensland Police.
The company has about a dozen staff creating their own applications - not for clients, but to familiarise themselves with the software development kit and user interface.
Microsoft's app strategy is straight out of Apple's playbook - providing a reliable and safe marketplace for developers to flog their wares, and eager smartphone users to experience the latest apps.
Companies can create and manage their own Windows app store for employees, Mr Strange said.
''The big opportunity will be line-of-business applications. For example, if you're BHP Billiton you can have a BHP Billiton App Store, where people that work for you can download something as simple as a 'lead generation' app or it could be a 'request for promotion' app.
''You can start to imagine all the different line-of-business applications … in a store, ready-to-go, for new staff or existing staff.''
Windows 8 apps reach audiences across three screens - mobile, tablet and desktop - addressing the problem of creating separate apps for iPhones and iPads (iOS) and the Macbook laptops (OS X).
Microsoft hopes to replicate the app model for corporate customers.
''For Microsoft it's a very brave move because there are a lot of changes … and I think they'll be rewarded for that brave move. Whereas I don't think Apple can be as brave, it has a very loyal following, and to make a major change would be potentially disastrous for them.''