Microsoft has announced the launch of a new look Windows Phone Marketplace and with it the chance to buy a Windows Phone 7 app via the website instead of the phone.

The news means that users will no longer have to have Zune installed to download apps or buy apps from their desktop and puts the company on a level pegging with Google's Android offering. 

Users will be able to buy apps using their Windows Live ID account details and have their credit card charged with the purchase. A link to the app will then be sent directly to the user's phone to download the app directly, saving them the bother of connecting the phone to a PC or Mac.

The news is likely to be welcomed by Apple Mac users who have previously been unable to buy apps via software on their computer with Microsoft insisting that they use the company’s Zune software on a PC instead.

The new Marketplace website is currently live in the US with UK and other global releases expected shortly.