Microsoft inches closer to a unified Windows and Windows Phone Store

Microsoft inches closer to a unified Windows and Windows Phone Store

Summary: Microsoft is making it easier and cheaper for developers to build apps for both Windows Phone and Windows by unifying its dev-registration process.


Microsoft is continuing to inch along the path to offering a unified Windows and Windows Phone store.

On November 6, company officials announced Microsoft is creating a unified developer registration experience for the two platforms. The thinking is this unified registration will make it easier for developers who want to create apps that target both Windows and Windows Phone by cutting dev registration costs and complexity.

The new registration program allows Windows Phone developers to have access to the Windows Dev Center for no additional cost. They can use their same Microsoft Accounts that they use on the Windows Phone Dev Center. At the same time, Windows developers now have access to the Windows Phone Dev Center for no additional cost, and can use their same Microsoft Account on either site.

New and existing developers can register and/or renew their accounts for both Dev Centers for a new lower price: $19 for individuals and $99 for companies. As a further incentive, developers already registered with both the Windows and Windows Phone Dev Centers using the same Microsoft Account will get a code for a free, one-year renewal.

The new unified developer registration program doesn't mean there's a unified dashboard for submitting and managing apps. (Rumor is this may be coming at some point, possibly in early/mid-2014.) There are still some differences, too, in steps developers take to renew.

Microsoft execs talked up plans to create a unified Windows-Windows Phone Store at the company's annual meeting earlier this fall. However, officials have still not publicly acknowledged that a single store is in the cards. My sources are indicating a unified Windows-Windows Phone Store may not be available to consumers until Spring 2015.

Topics: Mobility, Microsoft, Software Development, Windows 8, Windows Phone


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Broken Link

    I can't get the first link to work 404 error.
  • well duh?

    Wasn't the whole point the fact that apps would work on anything named 'windows'? the news isn't that they unified it now, but that they ever did something as boneheaded as requiring different apps for different devices in the first place.

    • Being an expert on OS

      perhaps you can care to elaborate how they could have done exactly THAT in as short time as possible.
  • APIs are still not unified

    Unifying stores is a very good first step. Now APIs have to merge. Lots of small things are not compatible between platforms for no obvious reason. It seems like different teams worked separately on different platforms and were using different editions of the same spec. It is not only irritating but it also means that these APIs are not stable. They will change in the future because really there is no logic in maintaining three versions of "almost identical" something.
    • I would expect that the existing APIs will remain around for a long time

      Microsoft is not going to obsolete code written and deployed for either WP8 or Win8/Metro. Once Microsoft publishes an API it gets a long life.

      They are very good at keeping compatible code around for a long time. My guess is that something written for Win3.x's "Win16" APIs probably still runs on 32-bit Win8 (on the desktop) - I'm pretty sure that stuff like that still worked in Vista and Win7.
      • New development

        Yes, MS is great at backward compatibility but if I know that year from now I can write one piece of software that runs on three platforms instead of three separate pieces that I have to do today then I'll wait. Or I can develop just for one platform.
        Microsoft clearly sees this non-unified platform as a problem and they are working to fix it. Some new portable libraries are really great. They can run on WP, Windows metro and windows desktop and for developer API is identical.
        Now why slightly different APIs are problem? Just try developing something.. You get question, google for an answer and get it. Everything seems cool but then in the middle of development you see that the one pretty important method is not present on your platform and you just wasted half a day on solution that does not work. It is beyond irritating.
    • Re: for no obvious reason

      The reason is well known: Microsoft
      • You get "stupider" by the post.

  • The key phrase

    Is "inches along". This is a change in a registration process! The story of how Nero fiddled while Rome burned comes to mind.
    • Re: Nero fiddled while Rome burned

      I follow you there, but more the plucking of a single string while thinking of fiddling. I guess being a Microsoft watcher is sometimes like being one of the researchers watching for pandas to mate in captivity.
    • Enterprise mindset

      Microsoft could be stuck in enterprise mindset. It means that everything has to be backward compatible so every move has to be tested and retested. It takes a lot of time but sometimes it just does not make much sense. Small and simple thing change too slow.
      In consumer world backward compatibility is not needed. Just look at apple. They killed floppy, flash, old ipod/iphone connection and old processors. Nobody complained much. Now look at microsoft and windows XP. 13 years after release some are still using and complaining about end of life next year. That is the difference between consumer and enterprise.
      • Re: That is the difference between consumer and enterprise.

        No, that is the difference between competent and not.
        • Like I said, you get "stupider" with each new post.

        • Bhahahaha... @danbi

          You have no case to make.
  • At this juncture, the choice to go after both consumer and

    enterprise is going to kill them. They cannot be nimble enough to keep up on consumer, while maintaining backwards compatibilty.
    I predict this unification effort will drag them down like an anchor. Already is happening.
    • MS has big enough staffs to work on both, enterprise and consumer

      versions of their software. MS could be more profitable if they would do what Apple does, which is to concentrate on the consumer or enterprise side, and not both. But, it's better to have more types of markets to target with their products and services.

      Haven't you already noticed that MS has been doing quite well for more than 20 years with consumer and enterprise-grade products, which all seem to be using the same UIs and most of the same core processing?

      So, why can't they continue doing what's made them successful for so many years.

      Oh, yeah! I forgot. You seem to be concerned about MS's future. NOT!!! You're one of the biggest detractors of MS, and you'd like nothing more than to see MS fail completely. Your concern for MS's well-being and future is very phoney.
    • Most consumers are Enterprise workers.

      Remember the middle-class workers?

      Teachers, lawyers, doctors, engineers, etc...

      All of these people work in an enterprise environment in one way or another.

      Teachers and lawyers use servers and Office, doctors have filing/management roles, engineers use CAD as a design supplement...

      By focusing on the Enterprise, Microsoft is creating a solid base to stand on, rather than pursuing the fad-based consumer market.

      Maintaining backwards compatibility isn't even hard, and most consumers actually like it.
  • Finally only one year late !

    It was stupid to expect Windows Phone developers to be happy to continue paying $99 a year, and stump another $19 for Windows 8. A plain insult to all us WP developers.

    Now sort out Microsoft PubCentre to deliver World wide Ad presence to its Indie developers. At the moment it is only US centric.
    • I understand your pain

      I have through a part of it at least.
      Ram U
      • stupid edit is needed

        I have been through part of your complaint at least.
        Ram U