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Windows Phone Marketplace is now available on the web, and has new DRM too, allowing everyone to see the impoverished selection of apps that are now harder to steal.

To be fair, the Windows Phone Marketplace hasn't been running long, and it's not as though one can't get applications elsewhere - Handango lists tens of thousands - but the Microsoft brand makes the marketplace important, and the lack of content embarrassing. Getting more content means appealing to developers, thus the improved DRM that comes with the same update.

Until now customers could buy an application from the marketplace, then dig around for the ".CAB" files and pass them on to family, friends and their favourite torrent site, but with the new version (details in PDF form) the CAB files will disappear after installation making it harder to make illegal copies.

That also makes it hard to deliver applications though a PC, so anything bought on the web site will be delivered direct to the handset the next time the on-device marketplace application is run.

Microsoft is also punting a stronger security system that includes a validation key locked to the device, for applications that are worth a little more.

And Windows Phone applications are worth a little more: Handango noted in its last YardStick that while it was now selling more Blackberry applications by volume, Windows Mobile is where the profit comes in. The average price of a Windows Mobile Phone application is more than $20, making development worthwhile and profits possible. Just not for Microsoft. At least, not yet. ®

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