There is current a petition soliciting signatures on Petition Online for Microsoft to open up Marketplace access beyond the 17 registered countries Marketplace is available at the moment.
At the moment, if you have a Windows Phone 7 device outside of those areas you either have no access at all, or you have to pretend to be in another country by changing your Live ID, which can cause major problems later when Marketplace eventually arrives.
The petition reads as follows:
To: Microsoft Corp.
Windows Phone 7 devices are now available in many countries around the world and we love them. Yet the Windows Phone App Marketplace is only available in 17 countries. Customers in other countries are stuck with smartphones with no access to any 3rd party apps unless they cheat and change their country/region in numerous places. And even then most of them canâ€™t buy paid apps with their perfectly valid credit cards based on the country they were issued.
There are no reasons given why thereâ€™s no access to the marketplace in these other countries even though the phones are officially on sale by local mobile operators. One can only guess what those reasons are. The only remotely logical explanation is that you want to localize the marketplace into local languages and currencies for these regions before allowing access. This probably makes some sense in larger markets like Russia or China where the phones arenâ€™t available yet (probably because OS is not localized into their languages). However the phones are available for purchase via official channels in many countries around the world (probably all countries in European Union) even though thereâ€™s no localized user interface for these countries. Customers who make informed decision to buy a phone with English UI wouldnâ€™t mind that Marketplace is in English too. What they do mind is that their new shiny smartphone has less features than a regular phone.
We are not talking about Music & Video where we understand that not everything is in your hands. We are talking about your own app marketplace.
Not only this affects consumers, but developers loose a substantial amount of sales simply because they can only sell to customers in 17 countries for no apparent reason.
We would like to ask you to allow access to the international marketplace worldwide or, at the very least, for customers in all the countries were the phones are available, as soon as possible. In case there are objective reasons why this is not possible we would kindly ask you to inform the general public of the issues involved and a roadmap for the worldwide availability of the marketplace.
A phone with no access to 3rd party applications could hardly be called a smartphone. And, even though we love Windows Phone 7, we can hardly recommend it to our local peers at this point.
At the time of writing the petition has gathered 87 signatures. If you wish to add your voice to the list read more at PetitionOnline here.