New Policies for Next Gen Windows Phone Marketplace

Today we’re introducing the new set of Windows Phone Marketplace policies that will govern the application submission and certification process as Windows Phone 7 comes to market. We’re taking the next step with Marketplace to attract a much wider range of developers, from large software companies down to students and hobbyists.

We introduced our first Marketplace eight months ago and have already shown that there is demand for an app store that is both customer-centric AND developer friendly. Marketplace is evolving to give people a great selection of beautiful apps for Windows Phone 7 that we will take steps to ensure are high-quality and don’t introduce security or reliability issues. At the same time, we’re giving developers the respect they deserve in our use of transparent and uniform policies that still give developers the necessary information and flexibility to explore creative sales and marketing models. For Windows Phone 7, we’re keeping the basic tenets of our existing Marketplace philosophy and making a few enhancements for developers.

Specifically, the new Windows Phone Marketplace policies offer:

  • Annual registration fee of $99
  • No limit to the number of paid apps submitted 5 free apps per registration, $19.99 each after that
  • Free registration to DreamSpark students (same unlimited paid and 5 free apps applies)
  • A new optional push notification service to help developers stay engaged with customers
  • A new optional Trial API – trials mean more customers try your app, and less likelihood that they return it. The length or type of trial is fully controlled by the developer
  • The ability to publish to all available Marketplace markets through a new “worldwide distribution” option, allowing developers to pay once and distribute broadly
  • Wider range of business models; free, paid, freemium and ad-funded
  • Equally important to many developers is what isn’t changing:
  • A revenue share of 70/30
  • Developers manage their business with Marketplace via the self service portal http://developer.windowsphone.com
  • Payout takes place monthly for developers that have earned more than USD$200 worldwide
  • Developers can make ad funded applications
  • All applications go through a process of technical and content certification
  • Marketplace offers support for credit card commerce, and where available mobile operator billing.
  • Microsoft continues its practice of publishing policies, guidelines, and submission process details to developers so they understand exactly how marketplace works.

The full list of Windows Phone Marketplace policies is now available here.

Bottom line – we have listened to developers and responded to changing customer behavior to make Marketplace an even better experience for all. We’re adding many of the new features you’ve asked for. For those considering developing for Windows Phone for the first time, we hope you see a fresh opportunity to create truly unique and exciting apps and games. For those who have already published apps to the Marketplace, we hope you find this new direction exciting. Be sure to download the Windows Phone Developer Tools preview, check out what Marketplace has to offer and tell us what you think.

If you’re also interested in what Windows Phone 7 means for business, see Paul Bryan’s report from TechEd on the Windows Phone Blog.

If you have app ideas or want to talk Windows Phone development, find me on Twitter.  Also, read this if you want to find out about Windows Phone developer devices.