updated 11:00 am EDT, Tue July 14, 2009
Win Mobile Subs Open Soon
Microsoft at its Windows Partners Conference said it would start taking app submissions for Windows Marketplace for Mobile on the 27th of this month. The initial submissions will first allow developers from 29 countries that include North America, most of Europe as well as southeast Asian contributors from Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan. The company also noted that the Marketplace will now be open to all Windows Mobile 6 devices, not just the upcoming 6.5, and expects the store to be open in the fall with about 600 apps ready.
As part of the rollout, Microsoft also says it will differentiate its store with the addition of a Business Center area. The special section will divide its apps into the field of work as well as by the category of app, keeping customer relations management separate from databases and other tools.
The addition will be key for Microsoft, whose store is otherwise intended to closely shadow the iPhone App Store business model and revitalize a Windows Mobile app market hurt by having scattered and at times developer-unfriendly royalty terms. Where third-party stores often aren't immediately accessible and can take roughly half of a developer's revenues for more popular apps, the Windows Marketplace model both centralizes the content and emulates Apple's model taking away a flat 30 percent cut regardless of units sold.
Microsoft has nonetheless raised concerns through its app fees, which it has confirmed will cost $99 per app versus Apple's approach, which allows all apps in for the same fee. The former has said it will allow five apps in for the same price this year but hasn't said whether it will continue this through to 2010. Concerns exist that Microsoft's strategy will discourage smaller developers from updating apps frequently. An absence of such restrictions is believed to have contributed to Apple marking 1.5 billion app downloads in just one year.