Windows 8 may still be several months away, at the very least, but that isn't stopping Microsoft from giving a preview of one the operating system's big new features: the Windows Store. AllThingsD.com reports that during a San Francisco-based press event on Tuesday, Microsoft gave out some of the details about the Windows Store which is Microsoft's answer to Apple's App Store for its iOS devices.
The big news is that the Windows Store will be made available when Windows 8 goes into its public beta, which Microsoft has now confirmed will happen sometime in late February 2012. All apps in the Windows Store for the Windows 8 beta will be free to download. However, Microsoft will be making private invites to developer who want to offer their apps for the store during the beta period.
Microsoft also posted on its blog the highlights:
- Revenue model: Successful apps earn 80 percent of every dollar of revenue earned after passing $25,000 USD in total revenue. The first $25,000 USD is paid out at the industry standard 70 percent revenue share.
- Timing: Opening its doors at Windows 8 Beta in late February 2012, the Windows Store will welcome developers to begin submitting apps starting today through the First Apps Contest to be considered for the Store’s opening. More details on the contest can be found at buildwindowscontest.com.
- Opportunity: Windows presents the largest single platform opportunity for developers, with 500 million Windows 7 licenses sold around the world to date.
More good news for developers:
- Transparent terms: The goals of the Windows Store app certification process are to ensure trusted, quality experiences for consumers and a simple, transparent process for developers through the App Certification Kit, Windows Developer Dashboard and the Windows Store App Certification requirements, found here.
- Flexible business models: Microsoft respects developer choice, and will offer a robust transaction platform while allowing them to utilize alternate transaction services. The Windows Store will also support multiple advertising platforms.
- Unprecedented global reach: The Windows Store will be global, enabling developers to sell their apps in any of 231 markets and in more than 100 languages.
- Optimized for discoverability: App discoverability and promotion are top priorities in the Windows Store with the benefits of app listing pages, trial periods and search with Bing and promotion through Internet Explorer.
One of the big new features is that the Windows Store will offer free trial versions of the apps in the storefront, much like how there are often free trials of the apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace. You will be able to convert the free trial to the full version with payment and without the need to get a second version of the app.
Microsoft will also link Windows Store apps to Internet search engines. Indeed, Windows 8's Internet Explorer 10 web browser will have a button that will link to the Windows Store apps.
Apps sold via the Windows Store will also be able to use their own subscription services to charge customers for extra features, which is something that Apple doesn't allow app developers to support with its App Store. Ad-supported apps are also allowed, with Microsoft letting the developer pick whichever ad solution they want.
Microsoft's cut of revenues from Windows Store apps will be 30 percent at first. However, the company will actually drop that number down to 20 percent after the app earns over $25,000 in downloads and/or in in-app revenues. App prices themselves can range from $1.49 to $999.99 in 50c intervals.