Windows Mobile developers upset with Microsoft over payments

Ars Technica reports some Windows Mobile Developers are not getting paid for apps sold in the Windows Mobile Marketplace. Certain developers say they are owed major amounts of money that Microsoft has not yet paid out to them. Some developers even state they have been without a check since the mobile marketplace launched last October.

Ars attempted to contact Microsoft earlier this week, only to be told Microsoft released an official statement on their own discussion forums. Mihir Rao, Windows Marketplace for Mobile Product Manager, said that in order for developers to be paid, a minimum amount of $200 must be met. Rao also stated that, “In some situations where we are not able to pay, the payout amount remains in the developer’s balance sheet for a future payment.”

The Dashboard Payout Status may be the reason why many are so upset. Developers can fall into three categories regarding payment status. These categories, “Not eligible for revenue payout”, “Pending eligibility for revenue payout”, or “Eligible for revenue payout” seem to be causing confusion.  In some situations, where developers fall under the “Not eligible for revenue payout”, the developer must first contact Microsoft over a payment issue before getting a check. Others who even fall under the “Eligible for revenue payout” status are also not getting paid. In addition, it appears that developers who have worked with Microsoft to rectify issues regarding payment, to the point where their status has been set to eligible again, are still not getting paid months later.

Rao has now followed up to his original statement saying, “I see my explanation of the ‘Eligible for revenue payout’ status has raised more questions than it has answered. I am going to get some more details on this particular dashboard status to provide further clarification.”

It seems Microsoft might have to revaluate or make clearer how these status categories effect payments. With Windows Mobile 7 coming up, developers are closely watching the situation. Many may be put off to working with Windows Mobile if these issues aren’t corrected.

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20 Comments

I understand that is costs money to cut checks and MS doesn't want to send out little $3 payments but $200 seems high. I think a $20 minimum is more reasonable.

GreyWolf said,
This is no different from the XBL marketplace or WiiWare. The title has to sell a certain level before payouts start. It's in the agreement they signed. Generally if sales are low you get paid after a certain time period if your application doesn't meet the minimum.

It seems shady, but I agree with you. Their reasoning in doing this seems sound. It might also keep people flooding their marketplace with crap apps (like what exists on the iPhone App Store).

Any half-way decent developer should be able to make enough sells for $200 I would think.

Edited by Shadrack, Jan 22 2010, 4:04am : Edit: grammer

Shadrack said,

It seems shady, but I agree with you. Their reasoning in doing this seems sound. It might also keep people flooding their marketplace with crap apps (like what exists on the iPhone App Store).

Any half-way decent developer should be able to make enough sells for $200 I would think.

I'm not certain, but I believe the main reason behind this methodology is that it would be very inefficient to send out payments for apps that only cost a few dollars every time there was a sale. It's kinda like a consignment shop. You drop off your wares and they send you a check at intervals until everything is gone, or if you close your sale they pay you for what sold so far.

I don't think Microsoft, Nintendo or Apple keep the money if your sales are low.

Edited by Eric, Jan 22 2010, 4:06am :

GreyWolf said,
This is no different from the XBL marketplace or WiiWare. The title has to sell a certain level before payouts start. It's in the agreement they signed. Generally if sales are low you get paid after a certain time period if your application doesn't meet the minimum.
Keeping crapware out is a must. If that is why they are doing this as setting a minimum sales amount, I find it right. However, Microsoft should make more clearer the developer's status and pay in time.

ajua said,
Keeping crapware out is a must. If that is why they are doing this as setting a minimum sales amount, I find it right. However, Microsoft should make more clearer the developer's status and pay in time.
I agree. It is Microsoft's right to set things up the way they want. The problem here is the "no payment" situation where payment is just thrown onto an I.O.U. balance sheet.

All that information is already available in the Windows Mobile Marketplace developer information: http://developer.windowsphone.com/Help.aspx

I hope Microsoft resolves this... This could be very bad for their Mobile efforts...

They also need a refresh of their mobile development tools...

M_Lyons10 said,
I hope Microsoft resolves this... This could be very bad for their Mobile efforts...

They also need a refresh of their mobile development tools...

They'll probably have a big refresh once WM7 is officially talked about, I expect stuff to hit MSDN for WM7 when MiX happens in March.

Well, not to burst anyones bubble but this was talked about sometime last week on other mobile sites iirc. I'm sure the holdup has a reason behind it though, MS isn't out to steal someones money which, to them overall, is like the loose change you find in the back of your sofa.

in order for developers to be paid, a minimum amount of $200 must be met

Dear Microsoft, please send me Microsoft Windows 7 Upgrade for free. Don't expect me to pay you until I decide to get more items and a minimum amount of $200 will be met.

EJocys said,

Dear Microsoft, please send me Microsoft Windows 7 Upgrade for free. Don't expect me to pay you until I decide to get more items and a minimum amount of $200 will be met.

Too bad that'll never happen! lol

Benjamin Rubenstein said,
So if a developer never hits $200, Microsoft just gets to keep his money forever? That's ridiculous!

No, it carries over to the next month, and if you withdraw your app you get whatever it made. If your app never sells $200 worth it can't be very good. I'm sure iFart even sold that much. :)

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