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MS fights to avoid 99-cent Win Mobile apps

updated 05:30 pm EDT, Thu August 20, 2009

MS Avoiding 99 Cent Apps

Microsoft at its first WinMoDevCamp in Seattle made clear it wants a different philosophy towards mobile app pricing than Apple. The Windows Mobile developer's Loke Uei urged those third parties writing apps for the soon-to-launch Windows Marketplace for Mobile to charge significantly more than 99 cents per download when possible and noted that Microsoft would look at revenue, not popularity, to gauge the winner of a developer contest. Letting prices slip to the 99-cent mark devalues apps that are "worth more than that," Uei said, adding a belief that a developer could sell half as many apps but, at $10 per copy, make much more money.

"It's up to you play your pricing, but we would definitely want to promote that you make more money selling applications than selling your application in a dollar store," he elaborated at the camp. "Your app can be worth $5.99 or $9.99, whatever the amount is, and you should be able to make more money with it"

The statements are a direct criticism of Apple's business model for iPhone apps, which doesn't enforce or otherwise encourage higher app prices and has consequently seen many narrow-purpose or quickly developed apps either sell at that price initially or else drop to it as part of promos or permanent price reductions. Such prices often lead to rapid sales but have been criticized by Twitterrific developer Craig Hockenberry and others as discouraging long-term development or more advanced projects. For its part, Apple has always characterized the App Store as being primarily an incentive for iPhone and iPod sales and hasn't concerned itself with suggesting prices.

Microsoft hasn't formally blocked app prices as low as 99 cents and has also been willing to promote free apps; in the developer contest, only these will be judged based on download count.

The encouragement positions Windows Marketplace between relatively flexible mobile software store operators like Apple or Google and the relatively restricted BlackBerry App World. RIM permits free apps but forces developers to charge at least $2.99 for any paid app. The cost is meant to encourage quality but has also led to some developers shying away from App World as they would be asked to charge more for the same product. [Via TechFlash]



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. slider

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 1999

    +2

    What?

    I've purchased a lot of apps that cost more than 99˘. I have some free ones on there too, does M$ what to exclude free apps? There's some pretty expensive apps out there too, but everyone who has an iPhone knows that. So what's Uei trying to do?

  1. jscotta

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2002

    +13

    I'm too poor for MS

    In other words, please price your apps higher, so that when we decide we (Microsoft) want to create an app for your space we can actually undercut you–its nothing personal, just our business model.

  1. pairof9s

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Jan 2008

    +5

    Chinese proverb...

    A tiger does not change its stripes.

    Microsoft cannot help its natural instinct to put profit before progress or merit. It signifies why they have never nor ever will be a true innovative leader...innovation is not born in profit, but in idea.

    This alone is why I laugh when the Ballmer Youth rail on Apple as being much more self-serving than Microsoft.

    /

  1. TiberiusMonkey

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008

    +6

    Desperation.

    "I know, 99 cents is interesting-yes, consumers like to pay 99 cents for applications. But 99 cents, come on, I think your app is worth more than that."

    The stench of desperation just covers Microsoft, head to toe. The things they say, I honestly have to re-read them sometimes because I don't believe what I read.

  1. IvoryTower

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2006

    +10

    Funny

    Funny how they develop a whole marketing campaign around the "fact" that Windows-based computers are cheaper than the competition...and now this. Granted mobile is a different space, but if they want to be perceived as the less expensive alternative, perhaps that should be the mantra for the entire company, not just select divisions. There's a touch of cognitive dissonance going 'round Redmond, IMO.

  1. IvoryTower

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2006

    0

    Funny

    Funny how they develop a whole marketing campaign around the "fact" that Windows-based computers are cheaper than the competition...and now this. Granted mobile is a different space, but if they want to be perceived as the less expensive alternative, perhaps that should be the mantra for the entire company, not just select divisions. There's a touch of cognitive dissonance going 'round Redmond, IMO.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. luckyday

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008

    -13

    Pfff

    A good percentage of the 99 cent apps in the apple app store should either be free or shouldn't exist. They are looking to take the same approach RIM is taking.

    It's funny that when discussing market share, Apple fans claim quality over quantity. Meanwhile, Apple has an app store that resembles Microsoft's market share. More apps than anyone else, but most are terribly useless.

  1. fizzy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2009

    +1

    trial

    If they could engineer App Store purchases to be trialware, then I'd buy more expensive apps. But 99 cents is all I'm going to risk on something I have to buy before I try.

  1. nat

    Junior Member

    Joined: Mar 2002

    +10

    oh luck

    homework dear boy! homework!

    now... "More apps than anyone else, but most are terribly useless."

    what qualifies as most? who makes that distinction? you? where are the stats for this? i want to see the percentage of the "terribly" useless ones, not just "most".
    while you're at it, "terribly" useless to who? who makes that evaluation? you? if i decide an app is "terribly useless" and you find it "terribly usefull" who gets to decide?
    or is there some non subjective data we can all look at?

    come come dear boy! you can do better than this!

  1. sgirard

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2005

    +4

    ouch.

    Lauren, if you can find a phone with fewer, more expensive apps than the iPhone, you can keep it.

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