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By 7 December 2011 | Categories: news

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Microsoft is already gearing up for the year ahead, as this week it provided a preview of the Windows Store, its application portal for Windows 8, which is expected to become accessible in February next year.

The company explained that the Windows Store, which has a Metro style look and feel, was “designed with app discoverability and visibility in mind”. Microsoft further elaborated that the globally accessible Windows Store will help developers “reach millions of Windows 8-based PCs, desktops, notebooks and tablets and sell their apps to 231 markets”.

Profit plans

As has become the industry norm, developers will initially share revenues on apps with Microsoft on a 70%/30% split, with 70% going to the developer. After earning $25 000 in revenue though, this would change, with the developer taking 80% of the profit. However, developers will also be able to use alternate transaction services for in-app purchases other than the one provided by Microsoft, in which case none of the proceeds would go to Microsoft.

As with Apple’s app store, developers will need to purchase an annual developer subscription of $49 (R400) for individuals, and $99 (R800) for companies. Once registered, developers will be able to set the price of their app, starting at $1.49 (R11), using $.50 (R4) increments up to $5 (R40).

Business basics

However, the company stressed that it would offer “flexible business models”for earning revenue and enticing customers to buy their app. These included the opportunity to take advantage of Microsoft's ad platform or that of another third-party vendor for in-app advertising.

Microsoft explained that a particular challenge existed for developers around having their apps stand out and be easily discoverable, while similarly, customers faced a challenge of searching for, locating and downloading the apps they wanted. To this end, the Microsoft Store will address these challenges in a number of ways.

An apps listing page would give developers space to pitch their app and provide details, including a description, features, screen shots, app reviews and capabilities, while developers will also be able to offers trials.

Additionally, the Microsoft store will offer curation and discovery, in which algorithmically generated lists highlight frequently downloaded apps by category, while app discovery will further be enhanced by app listing pages exposed to Bing and other search engines.

Microsoft further stressed that it will offer a transparent approval process, in which developers will be able to test their app through the Windows App Certification Kit (ACK) and troubleshoot any technical issues before submitting to the Windows Store. After submission, they will be able to use the Windows Store Dashboard to monitor their app “every step of the way”.

To the point

In short, Microsoft is clearly coming to the party in terms of app development, but they have a considerable amount of catching up to do, with the already established Apple App Store and Google’s Android Market growing on a weekly if not daily basis. Hopefully though, we will see enticing enough Windows 8 tablets in the new year – not to mention an extremely comprehensive library of apps on offer – to capture our attention.

In recent news, Nokia revealed that it was working on Windows 8 tablet and high-end Lumia smartphone

  

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