Microsoft Windows 8 users will likely get access to all the most popular apps in Apple's iTunes store. But it's doubtful they'll get iTunes anytime soon, according to a recent interview a Microsoft exec gave to CNN Money.
Tami Reller, chief financial officer of Microsoft's Windows division, said that by the holiday season the Microsoft will support the most popular apps in Apple's App Store in its own app store. Microsoft now has more than 60,000 apps available, and users have downloaded about 250 million of them.
"You shouldn't expect an iTunes app on Windows 8 any time soon," she told CNN Money. "ITunes is in high demand. The welcome mat has been laid out. It's not for lack of trying."
This doesn't mean that Windows 8 PC and tablet users can't get iTunes at all. They can. But their devices must be in "desktop mode." This is the traditional PC interface that works much better with a keyboard and mouse than a touch screen interface.
Apple has a long history of offering software for Windows computers, including iTunes as well as its Safari browser and its multimedia software Quicktime. It makes sense for Apple to play nice with Microsoft when it comes to providing software for its computers. After all, Apple is still a niche player in this market compared to Microsoft.
But when it comes to tablets, Apple still rules the roost with its own iPad product line. And it's clear that the company is not looking to make it any easier for Microsoft to compete in the tablet arena with its Windows 8 tablets.
Microsoft offers its own Music app for Windows 8 devices that helps people organize their music. But Reller admitted to CNN Money that iTunes is still more popular.
Microsoft's tablets using Windows 8 RT have struggled against the competition. And analysts aren't expecting strong sales for some time. Next year, the market for Windows 8 tablets that use Windows RT, will only be about 4 million. By 2014, that figure is expected to grow to 11.6 million, according to market research firm NPD Display Search.
There's no question Apple still dominates the tablet market with about 72 percent of all tablet sales in 2012, NPD Display Search has said. Apple may lose some ground to competitors in the next few years. But it won't be much. By 2017, the market research firm estimates Apple will control 50.9 percent of the market. Android, which has about 22.5 percent of the market today will grow to 40.5 percent by 2017. Meanwhile, Windows RT is forecast to garner only 7.5 percent of the tablet market by 2017.