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Same Sales Call for Mobile Marketplace

Microsoft offered more details about its developer strategy for Windows Marketplace for Mobile this week, announcing the business model and resources on its Windows Mobile developer portal.

Turns out Microsoft's strategy is a lot like Apple's -- right down to the percentage of sales revenues for Marketplace app developers. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery in some parts of the world (like China, maybe) but not Cupertino.

Starting this summer, developers can submit up to five apps for a $99 registration fee. Microsoft says it will run a "rigorous certification and testing process before applications go to market."

If accepted, an app can be distributed in up to 29 countries. Developers can choose to distribute it for free, or set targeted pricing by market and receive 70 percent of the sales revenue, said Inigo Lopez, Marketplace product manager.

The app, which will enable users to access, search and download Windows Marketplace applications directly from their phones, will be part of the Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system. The suggested developer tooling is Windows Mobile 6.0 SDK, Visual Studio and .NET Compact Framework 3.5.

"Apple has proven that the 'app store' model works and Microsoft seems to have been taking notes on what works and what doesn't. The beauty about any app store is consumers have a single repository to find apps to install on their phone," wrote Mike, a developer and college network technician, in an e-mail.

"But that's where the comparison with Apple should end," he said. "Microsoft will always have a single important advantage over Apple: any developer can write an application and send it to friends, post on a forum, test personally, etc., without publishing to an app store or 'jail-breaking' your phone. This is one of the big reasons I couldn't give up Windows Mobile for an iPhone."

The Marketplace is progress but there's still a lot of work to do. Microsoft has to do a much better job of ensuring uniform performance for Windows Mobile across manufacturers and their respective devices. It also has a major PR problem that went further south with Vista.

Why can't they get marketing right in Redmond? In addition to soliciting cool apps, maybe Microsoft should run a contest to see who can come up with the best ad campaign.

Do you plan to develop a Windows Mobile app for Marketplace or is Apple's marketing too invaluable to pass up? Comment below or contact me directly at [email protected].

Read "Microsoft Reveals Strategy for Mobile Developers" by Jeffrey Schwartz for more on this week's announcement.

Posted by Kathleen Richards on 03/12/2009

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