Microsoft Outlines Windows Marketplace Details

We’ve known for a little while that Microsoft was working on its own application store for Windows Mobile-powered devices. However, details surrounding the store have been pretty vague until now. Thanks to some new information from Microsoft, we now know more about its application store, which will be called the Windows Marketplace.

For starters, the company plans to charge developers an annual fee of $99 to become part of the Windows Marketplace ecosystem. There will be an additional $99 fee for every application the developer submits. To help grow the marketplace, Microsoft is allowing registered developers to submit up to five apps at no cost throughout 2009. Student developers will be able to submit applications for free through the Microsoft DreamSpark program. By comparison, Apple charges an annual fee of $99 for small developers. Companies with more than 500 employees must pay a $299 fee to enter the iPhone Developer program.

Windows Mobile MarketplaceA representative from Microsoft said the fee is "an acceptable cost of doing business for [software developers] looking to get in front of millions of customers." This representative further justified the charge by stating that Microsoft will run a rigorous certification process to make sure the end user’s experience is optimal and the device and network resources aren’t used in malicious ways.

Microsoft promises to make the process of submitting applications completely transparent. This will be welcome news to developers who’ve been snubbed by Apple’s opaque, confusing, and sometimes unfair system of allowing applications.

Regarding commission, Microsoft plans to take a 30% cut, though free titles are allowed in the store. Apple and Google also demand 30% of the proceeds from application sales. RIM is a bit more generous, offering 80% of earnings to developers.

Microsoft’s Windows Marketplace will be available in the fourth quarter of this year when Windows Mobile 6.5 launches. Developers can register this spring and start submitting applications this summer.