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Microsoft seeks to lure mobile developers with un-Apple-like perks

Microsoft's new mobile development policies are designed to be the antithesis of Apple's.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Like Apple, does for iPhone developers, Microsoft plans to provide developers writing for its mobile platform 70 percent of of the revenues generated for each app that is sold.

Beyond that percentage, however, Microsoft’s new mobile development policies and procedures are designed to be the antithesis of Apple’s.

Microsoft shared more details about its Windows Marketplace for Mobile development plans on March 11, about a month after announcing plans for the store at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona. (The codename for the new Win Mobile marketplace was SkyMarket.)

In addition to the 70-percent revenue split, Microsoft is touting other perks to entice developers to write for Windows Mobile 6.5 (and above). The Win Mobile 6.5 release is expected to be available this fall on new phones.

Windows Marketplace for Mobile will be available in 29 countries, according to the company. Microsoft will allow devs to see detailed feedback about their app-certification application throughout the approval process via the developer portal, officials emphasized.

(The transparent-feedback perk is no doubt in response to Apple, whose iPhone app store approval policies have been criticized by a number of developers for being murky.)

Microsoft is allowing Win Mobile developers to set different prices for their applications in each market. Developers also will have the option of distributing apps for no cost via the Windows Mobile Marketplace. Microsoft is allowing up to five application submissions as part of the introductory annual $99 registration fee. Student developers won’t be charged the registration fee if they enroll in the Microsoft DreamSpark program.

Microsoft is claiming more than 20,000 Windows Mobile apps already exist. But the new Marketplace, is targeted specifically at apps written for Windows Mobile 6.5 and above.

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