Feeds

Microsoft's mobile marketplace opens for submissions

'Better' experience for all promised

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

Updated Microsoft has thrown open the door on its Windows mobile marketplace, betting it can tempt customers and developers with a better service than the one offered by Apple's iPhone App Store.

On Monday, the software giant began accepting application submissions for apps that target devices running Windows Mobile 6.0, 6.1, and 6.5. Microsoft promised to turn submissions around over a 10-day-period, with apps evaluated on a first-in, first-out basis.

But don't expect to start downloading Windows Mobile applications by the middle of next week. The marketplace won't be open for business until this fall at the earliest for Windows Mobile 6.5 and around December for 6.0 and 6.1.

Microsoft will instead use the next few months to populate its online service. In conjunction with Monday's opening, Microsoft also announced a Race to Market competition for developers building Windows Mobile applications for the marketplace.

Prizes include four developer edition Microsoft Surface tables plus online marketing and promotion of your application.

Speaking at Microsoft's recent Worldwide Partner Conference, senior director of mobile services Todd Brix made it clear Microsoft is relying on partners to succeed against Apple.

As such, Microsoft's gone of its way to differentiate its marketplace from Apple's App Store in one vital way: The terms and conditions on what can be submitted and will be approved are clear. In May, Microsoft listed 12 criteria (warning: PDF) governing the applications that can be placed online in Microsoft's marketplace.

"We are late to market, and partnership is the core of our business," Brix told WPC. "One of the things we've heard from you [developers] is to solve problems in transparency and trust that are not available elsewhere... It's a shame if you develop and application an not know the criteria by which it passes and fails."

That was a jab at Apple. FYI.

But there was a powerful omen of just how far Microsoft has to go in rallying partners in its mobile crusade against Apple. Brix's session was seriously under-attended compared to WPC sessions about Windows 7 and Azure cloud services.

Brix reckoned Microsoft can win developers because it has cracked the reason why most people that download mobile applications don't use or pay for them.

"We think the number-one reason is because people lack confidence in what happens in the purchase experience," Brix said, adding Microsoft would provide a "robust and certain purchase experience."

For consumers buying applications, that will include a return and refund policy. Customers can return an application and get their money back up to 24 hours after buying, with Microsoft removing the application from a device using what Brix called "centralized device management." Customers will be limited to one return per month.

Microsoft will provide global first-line support on certain problems, such as a customer buying an application that failed to download. Technical queries will be passed to the ISV. Meanwhile, customers will need a Microsoft Live ID to access the marketplace, and Microsoft will anonymize individual customer's data while applications will be downloaded to the phone, not to a PC.

As part of its testing criteria, Microsoft will make sure applications work on the devices specified by the developer, check for correct installations, make sure there aren't memory leaks, make sure the software doesn't change the behavior of the phone, and check for malware. Microsoft will also check to ensure the content complies with its guidelines on user age.

Developers whose applications receive a "critical mass of complaints" for violating any of its 12 policies, meanwhile, will be notified "and it'll be up to you as an ISV to solve that."

For developers, Brix promised a strong emphasis on making money. It claimed a market of 30 million mobile devices running Windows Mobile 6.0 and 6.1.

So far, the marketplace targets 29 countries, although Brix promised more trials would be announced in other geographies in the coming months. He also said Microsoft is working with mobile operators and OEMs on "new ways" to download and distribute the marketplace.

Developers will get paid monthly through electronic fund transfer, once they've reached a $200 threshold with government holdings kept back. You'll also get real-time business intelligence on sales, downloads, and refunds in each country, plus access to reviews, customer support logs, and technical feedback. Applications can be built using native code and Win-32, with widgets build using Visual Studio 2008

Brix said Microsoft is looking at the inclusion of a subscription API in future releases of the marketplace. ®

This article has been updated to clarify when the marketplace will be opened for different versions of Windows Mobile.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.