Instagram took years to finally launch a Windows Phone app… and then launched a version without video support. Apps like Super Mario Kart keep popping up on the “New Apps” chart. Angry Birds Space is still the No. 9 paid Windows app, a year after it dropped out of iPhone top 10. Ancient corpses of Bejewelled and Fruit Ninja still haunt the graveyard that is the Windows top 10 download chart.

After years of valiant efforts to catch up with the iOS and Android app markets, Windows Phone remains a wasteland. The lack of massive blockbuster titles like Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans, Pet Rescue Saga and Hay Day continues to damage the credibility of the Windows app market grievously. Almost as dangerous is the lack of ambitious, cutting-edge graphics extravaganzas like Infinity Blade III.

The iOS app market is vibrant laboratory of new genres and their hybrids, offering exciting new twists on card battle games, war simulations, slick sharp-shooting apps, humorous zombie titles, make-up games, etc. In contrast, Windows app store remains astonishingly sterile. Current free download chart toppers include UNO and Microsoft Solitaire Collection.

As long as Microsoft cannot breathe life into its app universe, it cannot seriously challenge iOS and Android in the smartphone market anywhere but in the $100 pre-paid segment.