In an announcement aimed squarely at developers, Microsoft's Antoine Leblond and Ted Dworkin yesterday revealed some hard details for the upcoming Windows 8 app store. Using Apple's and Android's various app stores as a point of reference, Microsoft has come up with terms that aim to address common complaints about the app store model.

First, the money: registration fees for individual developers will cost $49, and $99 for companies. When a paid app is first posted to the store, the revenue will split between the developer and Microsoft using the standard 70/30 ratio, but for apps that make more than $25,000, the split will change to 80/20 in favor of the developers. Unlike the Mac App Store, Microsoft will also allow both time-based and feature-based trial versions of apps in its store, which can be upgraded in-place to the full version if the developer supports it. Paid apps can start at $1.49 and cost up to $999.99.

The approval process for apps looks to be a more developer-friendly version of Apple's system: Windows 8 will be a curated platform, which should help curb some of the malware problems that Android is having. However, criteria for approval are clearly laid out even at this early date, and developers whose apps are rejected will be given feedback on what changes they'll need to make to get approved. Developers can also get status updates on exactly where they are in the approval process (all of this sounds pretty good, though Microsoft's rules for things like Xbox Live games and patches have drawn some criticism from developers for their inflexibility).

For both advertisements and in-app purchases, Microsoft offers its own platforms but does not mandate their use. If a newspaper or magazine publisher has an existing database of its users and a pre-existing authentication system, that publisher is free to continue using them in its app. Apple began mandating the use of its systems for in-app purchases earlier this year. 

Lastly, as usual, Microsoft spent some time assuaging the fears of its enterprise customers: via group policies and PowerShell scripts, domain administrators can both permit and deny access to the Windows Store and to individual apps, and can also deploy Metro apps directly to PCs without using the Windows Store at all. This functionality could be particularly useful for volume-licensed apps.

The Windows Store will make its first appearance in the Windows 8 Beta, which should be available at some point in February of 2012. Microsoft has announced a "First Apps" contest, through which developers that submit their apps before January 8 will have a chance to have their app featured in the beta store. Microsoft will allow only free apps in the store during the beta period, so users will have a good chance to dig around and see what Metro apps will be like.

Source: Windows Store for Developers blog

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  • videogames101 - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    The entire world is our app store, why do you need to control distribution Microsoft? Oh right, marketing ploy, awesome I guess... Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    Not everyone can handle the technical side to a PC, if this makes life simpler for them, then all the power to them.
    Plus the App store means Microsoft gets to profit off it, Microsoft is a business, businesses like your money. No other company in any other position would do things differently in that regard.

    Personally I won't use Metro, I like my Desktop. It's purty.

    But even in this day and age... It's amazing to still know people (Even teenagers) who don't even know how to google something basic, download it and then install and use it. They would rather just 1 click and done.
    Reply
  • Spivonious - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    Not a marketing ploy.

    The answer is money. Let's say you make a dumb game and charge $2 for it. Let's say it's mildly popular and 1% of Windows 8 users buy it. Assuming Windows 7 users all upgrade or buy new Windows 8 PCs, that means 5 million people buy your app. That's $10M. MS gets $2,005,049 of that for doing nothing but providing a store.
    Reply
  • tomvh - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    And How dear friend is one lonely developer supposed to sell a gazillion copies of his $2 crapware game with out the STORE.
    Some of you children must have been educataed in communist school.
    Most of us invest our time ( called labor) and or money ( called capital inputs)
    to earn our living. Do you provide services for free.

    Grow Up !
    Reply
  • Dradien - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    Wow dude, you over reacted a little.

    It was a nice clear example on how Microsoft can make easy money out of an App store, which I think no one here thinks they shouldn't. What the hell was all crap about Communist school and whatnot?

    Also, One Developer did just what he did. Notch created Minecraft mostly by himself (Him and a friend)and without ANY advertising, ANY publishers, and NO STORE FRONTS, sold MILLIONS of copies. THAT COMMUNIST!!!
    Reply
  • Paul Tarnowski - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    The sweet spot is to provide a unique and inexpensive service that a lot of people need and make it easily available at a reasonable price. If you are a regular earner who actually values his time (as opposed to an OWS squatter), and there's an app that will save you an hour a month of your time, then if you do the math (and are any good at The Maths), you're going to be willing to purchase the app.

    Heck, I would buy an app for $1.99 if I could be reasonably sure it would save me an hour of work. I VALUE my time.

    But if it takes me an hour to find a program that saves me an hour's worth of work, which as there is more and more STUFF on that wide internet that you tout so much, then the calculation fails. Therein lies the store. I do a search, see if there's an app for what I need, check feedback, and Clickety-click. BOOM. Done.
    Reply
  • woofersus - Thursday, December 08, 2011 - link

    Convenience for customers, for one thing, (people seem to be making significant use of the Apple App Store on Mac's) but also it's a service for developers. Getting a program published and distributed is difficult and/or expensive - especially a simple little program you want to sell for $1.99. And certainly it opens up many options for users of the OS to find and purchase apps they wouldn't otherwise know about.

    This is about making the platform an open marketplace where people can buy and sell (or give away) software, rather than just relegating that activity to the Internet. Of course MS will make some money from it, as well they should, but this move is very much customer driven. (although figuring out what customers want and developing products around that IS a function of marketing - people seem to think that all Marketing does is write deceptive ad copy and shoot commercials)
    Reply
  • Digobick - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    The minimum price for an app is $1.49, not $1.99:

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/ap...
    Reply
  • Andrew.a.cunningham - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    Got it. Thanks! Reply
  • Core2uu - Saturday, December 10, 2011 - link

    $1.49 is a rather awkward minimum price point. $0.99 plays out much better for tempting those bottom-feeder impulse buys. Reply

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