Just days after Apple's App Store surpassed Microsoft's Windows Mobile in the number of apps available, Microsoft is showing developers and Apple it means business. On Wednesday, the software giant released tools for developers to build applications for Windows Marketplace for Mobile, which will be offered on Windows Mobile 6.5.
"Microsoft's decades-long relationship with developers has led to some of the most exciting innovations the industry has seen," said Andy Lees, senior vice president of the mobile communications business at Microsoft. "We'll continue our successful collaboration with developers through Windows Marketplace for Mobile, which will provide a broad reach to customers."
Mirroring Apple's model of providing developers with 70 percent of revenue sales of their applications, Microsoft said it will provide developers with the same 70 percent, but with a pricing twist. Developers will be able to set their own price for applications in each of Windows Mobile for Marketplace's 29 markets and maximize their revenues, Microsoft said.
A Fee of $99 a Year
But developers must pay an annual registration fee of $99. Included in the first year is the ability to submit up to five applications. After that, each additional submission will cost $99.
Student developers, however, won't have to pay the fee as long as they are enrolled in the Microsoft DreamSpark program. DreamSpark allows students to download Microsoft developer and design tools without paying for them as a way to get students to innovate.
Microsoft engineers will work with developers to be sure applications run at an optimal level. The company plans a "rigorous certification" and testing process before applications to go to market.
Developers will be allowed to see detailed feedback both during and after the certification process. Giving feedback allows developers to spend more time innovating and less time getting applications approved, according to Microsoft.
Apple, on the other hand, has been ridiculed for having an unorganized review process, taking too long to accept or reject an application, and being too stringent on what it accepts into the App Store. Developers, including Jonathan Zdziarski, an author and developer, say it's all about control for Apple.
Other Devices Enforce Rules
"If you take a look at other app stores, such as the Android app store and the upcoming BlackBerry store, applications do not undergo a lengthy review process but are immediately available for download," he said. "This has been the long-held standard in both desktop and mobile computing since PocketPC and Palm entered the scene."
"Most other manufacturers realize that open markets lead to more innovation and design the devices themselves to enforce security policies," Zdziarski added. "The iPhone is capable of doing this, too, and so Apple's lengthy review process must therefore be for other reasons; my belief is market control."
Developers will be given additional information once Microsoft opens the doors for registration in the spring, with apps expected to be submitted in the summer.