Windows Phone Marketplace policies revealed

The new policies for the Windows Phone Marketplace have officially been posted on the Windows Phone Developer Blog. Eight months ago, Microsoft's first phone market was announced. Now, with the upcoming release of Windows Phone 7, the game has changed, and so shall the Marketplace. Below are the new policies that are being put into affect (all quoted directly):

  • Annual registration fee of $99
  • No limit to the number of paid apps submitted 5 free apps per registration, $19.99 each after that
  • Free registration to DreamSpark students (same unlimited paid and 5 free apps applies)
  • A new optional push notification service to help developers stay engaged with customers
  • A new optional Trial API - trials mean more customers try your app, and less likelihood that they return it. The length or type of trial is fully controlled by the developer
  • The ability to publish to all available Marketplace markets through a new “worldwide distribution” option, allowing developers to pay once and distribute broadly
  • Wider range of business models; free, paid, freemium and ad-funded
  • Equally important to many developers is what isn’t changing:
  • A revenue share of 70/30
  • Developers manage their business with Marketplace via the self service portal http://developer.windowsphone.com
  • Payout takes place monthly for developers that have earned more than USD$200 worldwide
  • Developers can make ad funded applications
  • All applications go through a process of technical and content certification
  • Marketplace offers support for credit card commerce, and where available mobile operator billing.
  • Microsoft continues its practice of publishing policies, guidelines, and submission process details to developers so they understand exactly how marketplace works.

Microsoft says that it has listened to developers and their feedback. Their goal is to create an ecosystem that is amply suited for both games and apps. They are also charging developers for submitting more than five free apps per registration. It's interesting that they'd want to deter developers from providing free content. Free apps have proven to be a great way to attract consumers to a mobile platform. Without a proper customer base, the Marketplace may face a tough time flourishing. Perhaps hosting too many free apps causes enough of a financial burden on Microsoft to warrant the fee, though it seems unlikely.

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