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Windows Phone users, happily getting their Mango update, can now buy apps using a website as well as the Windows-only Zune client.

The web-based version offers access to the same range of applications, and pushes them directly out to a registered handset, or sends an email with a suitable link if push isn't operable for some reason. But, more importantly, it will work for those Windows Phone users who haven't bought into the Microsoft brand for all their OS needs.

Most Windows Phone users are probably running a Microsoft OS on their desktops too, and so happily use the Zune client software, but Microsoft's aspirations for its mobile platform go beyond being a desktop companion, so having a web-based store is an obvious development – even if it is one that Apple (with its iTunes software) has eschewed.

The new marketplace is already available around the world, and clearly aimed at Mango: the latest version of Windows Phone which is being pushed out to users in a phased release over the next few weeks.

Being able to order mobile applications through a website isn't a huge deal for Windows Phone, but it is one of those niceties that the platform will need to be taken seriously. ®

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