Developers get MORE with Windows Phone 7.5

Today marks the beginning of the widespread consumer availability of Windows Phone 7.5, as well as the new Web version of Marketplace and My Windows Phone; the FREE online service that lets you find, lock and erase your lost phone from the Web as well as giving you easy access to apps, photos and docs. For developers, it’s the realization of the next step in expanding your Windows Phone opportunity and a chance for us to deliver a few MORE features you’ve asked.

By now you know that Windows Phone 7.5 is no minor update. The addition of Twitter and LinkedIn integration to the People Hub, enhanced communication with Groups and Threaded Messaging, a fast and beautiful Web experience with hardware accelerated IE9, amazing Search features like Local Scout and of course a smarter approach to apps make Windows Phone 7.5 the only phone that truly puts people at the center to keep them connected.

But don’t just take my word for it…

“Windows Phone remains a breath of fresh air in an otherwise-entrenched mobile landscape. It’s fun to use in a way that iOS and Android are — to put it bluntly — not,” notes Chris Ziegler of This is My Next. “Put simply, I love Live Tiles, and Mango finally takes them to where they need to be,” he adds.

“With Mango, WP7 has caught up with Android and iOS in nearly every way, and in some areas it’s even surpassed the other two in functionality,” Brad Molen, Engadget.

“If you don’t want an iPhone, this is basically the only real option,” concludes Matt Buchanan, Gizmodo

“Apps are getting the bulk of Microsoft’s love, though. The upgraded OS is designed to make Windows Phone’s 30,000+ apps more discoverable, useful and accessible” reports Ben Parr of Mashable.

This OS builds on our commitment to create MORE opportunities for you by reaching 19 more markets, enabling MORE app functionality and providing MORE ways for your apps to be discovered such as App Connect and deep linking, so that even apps that a customer has never heard of show up during a Bing search. How important is App Connect? A recent study* we commissioned found that 60% of people using competing Smartphones wish there were an easier way to discover relevant apps. More than half of people believe that app suggestions should show up among Web search results*, which is exactly what we are delivering with App Connect. The Windows Phone SDK makes it easy for you to do MORE with your app.

The most visible new opportunity to arrive today is a Web version of Marketplace. Check it out here. This is a powerful new way for MORE customers around the world to browse, acquire and recommend your apps and games right from their browser. Customers can now purchase an app from the Web and that app can be automatically downloaded over-the-air to their Windows Phone 7.5 devices. Marketplace on the Web will also be able to maintain a customer’s download history to make it easier to reinstall apps (when changing phones, for example). This new Marketplace creates MORE app marketing and promotion scenarios for you as well since you can link directly to your app within this comprehensive Web shopping experience.

International expansion of onboarding and payouts for the Microsoft Advertising solution for Windows Phone has been one of your top requests. Today our international footprint reaches well beyond the United States to support developers in eleven MORE countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

So what does this mean? It means MORE Windows Phone app developers can make MORE money from in-app advertising and get paid locally in their country. The Microsoft Advertising solution for Windows Phone has been shown to make MORE money for developers than other solutions in the market… up to 71% MORE in a recent study! Click here to read more on international expansion of Microsoft Advertising solution for Windows Phone app developers.

We also continue working to bring Marketplace and App Hub to MORE markets. Developers in countries other than the 38 we currently support can also publish their applications to Marketplace via local intermediaries enrolled in the Global Publisher Program. These global publishers accept your app submissions and then publish them to the markets you choose. Publishers are now available for all major regions the world including:

Our registration and certification processes are part of the reason that customers have come to count on Marketplace to deliver malware free apps and games, whereas nearly 70% of Android users recently expressed concern about malicious software*. Still, as we reach MORE developers in MORE countries with Windows Phone, we continue to look for ways to improve App Hub and the registration process for developers. One issue we’ve heard loud and clear from you is the time and energy required to provide tax information such as ITIN. I’m happy to share today that we’ve simplified payout and taxes by eliminating the need to provide an ITIN on your W-8 to take advantage of a reduced withholding rate. That’s MORE money, with less paperwork.

We’re also always improving the Windows Phone Developer Tools to make it faster and easier for developers around the world to create MORE amazing apps and games. Watch for another blog post tomorrow from Cliff Simpkins with an update on the SDK and developer builds of Windows Phone 7.5.

Finally, I want to thank you. As Windows Phone 7.5 begins reaching customers, we’re reminded how far we’ve come together. In less than a year we’ve built a thriving Marketplace with MORE than 30,000 apps and already offer 90% of the most popular apps available on both leading competing platforms*. Your apps are increasingly a factor in people choosing Windows Phone, and our smarter approach to (your) apps is even MORE evident with Windows Phone 7.5. These capabilities, combined with the new market and merchandising opportunities make this an exciting and we hope lucrative time to be a Windows Phone developer. Please keep those great new and updated apps coming!

Todd Brix,
Senior Director, Windows Phone Marketplace

(*source: iPhone and Android App Usage Research. Aug-2011. Research by TNS, Commissioned by Microsoft. TNS is part of Kantar, the world’s largest research, insight and consultancy network. Please visit http://www.tns-us.com for more information.)