Check out some fine print here, though. The issue is that the public programming model for WP7 is relatively restrictive, compared to Android for example. So there’s little AVG can do in terms of real security checks. Microsoft only lets the mobile carriers – i.e. companies who sign big expensive licensing deals – to have access to the full capabilities of the phone operating system. The rest of the world, including companies like AVG, can only produce simple app store applications such as web-based games.
This is limiting, particularly if you’re a software company trying to do something other than gaming. Antivirus is a great example of that. Plus, even though WP7 is a consumer play, employers these days have little choice but to support employee-supplied devices, and hence there’s a gap in enterprise capability. That is, many business-related connectivity and productivity scenarios require features above and beyond those currently available in WP7 in order to meet a typical bar for IT security, compliance, and manageability.
There’s a flip side to Microsoft’s strategy there, though. For one thing, simple web-based games, and other utility applications with similar capabilities, are the 80% case when it comes to what consumers are expecting to find on the app store. And there’s no debating that it’s consumers who are making the purchasing decisions here, not employers. So, in theory, by focusing on that 80% case, Microsoft can better compete. Marketplace diversity is good.
It has also been argued that this reduced programmability is actually good for consumer security, since it means that app store apps are less likely to be able to damage the phone, steal data from other apps, etc. However, that argument is misleading, since an app store app can just as easily prompt the user for a password, credit card number, SSN, or whatever, and then do anything with it. Phone apps can also load any website, so all of the usual web-based attacks are possible.
A rich and well supported extensibility model has historically been the competitive strong suit of Microsoft’s platforms. The current WP7 strategy notwithstanding, I don’t think that aspect of the market has changed. Android itself is proof of that. I eagerly await these capabilities in the next releases of Windows Phone.