Windows 8 Tablet Momentum Builds with Facebook and Flipboard Apps

PHOTO: Flipboards app for WIndows 8.
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Microsoft is addressing many of the user complaints of Windows 8 in its forthcoming Windows 8.1 update, which was released today to early adopters and software developers. But the company is demonstrating this week at its developers conference in San Francisco that it is also addressing an issue it doesn't have direct control over: the applications in its app store.

While the Windows Store is nearing the 100,000-app milestone, the company announced today that two of the most popular Android and iPad tablet apps are coming to the platform. Facebook and Flipboard will be available in the store soon, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced today.

Facebook didn't announce an exact launch date for the app, but its director of engineering Mike Shaver said in a statement that the app will "draw on Facebook's strength in connecting people and Microsoft's strength in building great platforms." Despite Microsoft's Bing search engine being directly integrated into Facebook, the social network company has spent more of its time developing apps for more popular mobile platforms, including the iPhone, iPad and Android.

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Flipboard, the popular news reading app, will also bring its app to Windows. "Flipboard fits naturally into Windows 8. Working together we aspire to craft the world's most beautiful Windows app," Flipboard CEO Mike McCue said in a statement.

Flipboard has been one of the most popular apps for the iPad since it launched in 2010. The app pulls in Facebook and Twitter posts and formats them in a very clean, magazinelike layout.

The Windows 8 app announcements is just what the operating system needs, says Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research.

"The more modern apps they can encourage the better," Rubin told ABC News. "It's a serious deficiency in the platform. As those apps come to the platform it bolsters the case not only for Windows 8 but also Windows RT." Windows RT is the version of Windows for lower-powered ARM tablets.

Microsoft also announced today that the NFL will release a Windows 8 app as well. Ballmer believes the Windows Store will have 100,000 apps within the next month.

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