Microsoft Gets Facebook App for Windows 8

Facebook Inc. is building an application for Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 8, adding one of the most popular programs missing from the operating system designed to help the software maker gain tablet customers.

Flipboard Inc., which lets users combine articles into a digital magazine, and the National Football League will also create apps for Windows 8, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer said at a conference today in San Francisco. There are now more than 100,000 apps for Windows 8.

Microsoft commanded just 3.7 percent of the tablet market in the first quarter as a lack of some high-profile features, including a Facebook app, limited the appeal of Windows 8 and the software maker’s Surface tablet. Twitter’s app for Windows 8 was released in March. Microsoft is courting developers and adding features to Windows 8 to gain share in a tablet market dominated by Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.

Microsoft today released a test version of its Windows 8.1 software, which restores some old Windows features, like a start button and rolls out new ones in a bid to reignite interest in its flagship operating system. Some customers had complained about the software’s usability without the familiar start button.

The finished version of Windows 8.1 will be available later this year.

Flipboard plans to release its app, and a version for Windows Phone, later this year, Eric Feng, chief technology officer for the developer, said in an interview. The NFL program is a fantasy football app.

Microsoft’s shares rose 2 percent to $34.35 at the close in New York, leaving them up 29 percent this year.

-- Editors: Lisa Rapaport, Niamh Ring

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