An Update on Windows Phone Marketplace; new tips, policies and regional access program

An Update on Windows Phone Marketplace; new tips, policies and regional access program

  • Comments 35
  • Likes

As we enter the final month of a very busy first quarter of 2011, I thought I’d take this opportunity to update developers on the status of the Windows Phone Marketplace and share some news. There are many ways to measure the vitality of a marketplace and I’m pleased to report that we’re seeing strong results across several fronts; from the number of available apps and popularity of our tools, to more tangible developer benefits stemming from monetization opportunities that drive downloads and sales. And of course, our recently announced partnership with Nokia represents a big step forward in our efforts to create a vibrant ecosystem for developers. To show that we’re taking feedback seriously, I’ll also touch on a few policy shifts we’ve either implemented recently or will address in the coming weeks.

Windows Phone Marketplace currently offers more than 9,000 quality apps and games and enjoys a base of over 32,000 registered developers, delivering an average of 100 new apps every day. The Windows Phone Developer Tools have now been downloaded more than one million times, and we recently announced an update to let developers take advantage of OS updates such as the addition of copy and paste functionality.

The first round of developer payouts began in January, which generated some interesting feedback from developers about what’s working and what isn’t. We’ve been doing some analysis ourselves as well that we wanted to share with the Windows Phone developer community around trial use and ad monetization to incorporate into your new app or app update plans.

Trial Use

The Windows Phone platform enables developers to easily add a configurable Trial capability to their application. Our theory when building this capability was that more users would consider and buy apps if they could try the app out first to see if they like it. Results?

  • Users like trials. Paid apps that include trial functionality are downloaded 70 times more than paid apps that don’t include trial functionality, expanding the number of potential customers to purchase the full paid version.
  • Trials result in higher sales. Nearly 1 out of 10 trial apps downloaded convert to a purchase and
  • generate 10 times more revenue, on average, than paid apps that don’t include trial functionality.
  • Trial downloads convert to paid downloads quickly. More than half of trial downloads that convert to a sale do so within one day, and most of those within 2 hours.

Of course some apps do much better, and some worse, depending on the quality and nature of the app, but the trial functionality grows customer exposure and revenue substantially for most developers.

Ad Control

While it is still early days, we are also seeing some exciting results from developers taking advantage of the Ad Control.  Since the release of our Ad Control for Windows Phone 7 last September, developers have been increasingly enjoying success building ad supported Windows Phone 7 apps, for example:

  • Roughly ¼ of all registered U.S. WP7 developers have downloaded the free Ad SDK for Silverlight and XNA
  • Of ad funded apps in the Marketplace, over 95 percent use the free Microsoft Advertising Ad Control
  • Monthly impressions from our Ad Exchange has continued to grow by double digits – impressions increased by nearly 400 percent just since January

To ensure app developers are getting the most out of advertising and the Ad Control, the first wave of “How Do I” videos are now available on MSDN:

1. Create an Ad in a Windows Phone 7 XNA Game App

2. Register Ad-Enabled Windows Phone 7 Apps

3. Measure Ad Performance of Windows Phone 7 Apps

Global Publisher Program

As Windows Phone 7 continues to evolve as a platform, we will continue to expand the opportunities for developers. One area of focus for us is reaching developers in more countries and regions around the world. To that end, I’m pleased to announce today a new Global Publisher Program. This program will enable developers worldwide to work with a Global Publisher to submit apps to the Windows Phone Marketplace. Developers from countries and regions all over the world can now submit apps and games to the Windows Phone Marketplace.

How It Works: Publishers will submit applications to Marketplace on behalf of their developer customers, according to pricing and service terms defined by the Publisher. For example, During TechEd Middle East in Dubai, Microsoft Senior Vice President, Developer Division, S. Somasegar announced the launch of Yalla Apps, a new regional Windows Phone application publishing portal managed by Global Publisher, Prototype Interactive. Yalla Apps enables developers to submit and publish Windows Phone 7 applications from the developer community across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. We are working with additional Global Publishers in other regions to bring the same opportunity to more developers around the world.

Policies

Finally, we’ve been revisiting a few of our Marketplace policies based on feedback from developers to reduce friction and cost:

1. We have raised the limit on the number of certifications that can be performed for FREE apps at no cost to the registered developer from five to 100. This was a common request from developers which we are glad to implement after building alternate methods to ensure that users can find and download high quality apps.

2. We have converted policy 5.6 - related to the inclusion of contact information for support - from a mandatory to an optional policy. This is still a strongly recommended best practice, but we recognized and responded to developer feedback that this policy was creating excessive drag on the certification process for developers without commensurate user benefit for all apps.

3. We also understand the desire for clarification with regard to our policy on applications distributed under open source licenses. The Marketplace Application Provider Agreement (APA) already permits applications under the BSD, MIT, Apache Software License 2.0 and Microsoft Public License. We plan to update the APA shortly to clarify that we also permit applications under the Eclipse Public License, the Mozilla Public License and other, similar licenses and we continue to explore the possibility of accommodating additional OSS licenses.

We remain very pleased with the Windows Phone Marketplace ecosystem and are grateful for the time, patience and hard work that developers have committed to make it a success. We will continue to take feedback and take steps to make Windows Phone Marketplace and App Hub a more convenient, fun and rewarding experience for developers.

UPDATE 310: I’ve read a few comments over the past few days from people that appear to be misinterpreting what the Global Publisher Program means for Microsoft’s long term plans for regions such as the Middle East and Africa. GPP does not preclude Microsoft from bringing full Windows Phone Marketplace and App Hub support to a given region. If anything, GPP demonstrates that Microsoft is working hard to bring the Windows Phone opportunity to more regional developers as quickly as possible. Regions in which we work with a local publisher are clearly priorities. GPP should be viewed as another way Microsoft is gradually making great services available to Windows Phone developers and customers around the world.

35 Comments
You must be logged in to comment. Sign in or Join Now
  • Nils
    4 Posts

    It seems impossible to register on the App Hub from Sweden.

    I think it is a "bug", since it doesn't accept my valid credit card number.

    It doesn't deny the charge, it just says "Enter a valid credit card number".

    But it is VALID !

  • Nils
    4 Posts

    I doubt it will work in ANY country outside the United States.

    Admit it. You cannot handle localization!

    Learn from AMAZON.COM and stick with plain English!

    They can handle credit cards  (VISA cards)  from all countries.

  • BriggXs
    1 Posts

    How can I become a Global Publisher in my region? I have my own company.

  • Hey guys ..

    Yalla Apps has some good news for you !

    We are now accepting submissions of Paid Apps, so you can finally get some cash for your sales!

    Additionally, you can now pay your $99 annual subscription and automatically get 100 credits and a Free device unlock. Also, with our more convenient charge structure, you can now submit unlimited Paid Apps and up to 100 Free apps!

    So sign up with Yalla Apps and get rewarded.

    Visit us at www.yallaapps.com

  • nitro52
    28 Posts

    @Kevin Daily I completely agree with your comment. I'm getting very sick of this Trend that Microsoft is advertising all these features then restricting them to only US. In Australia we pay about 2 times more for the App hub subscripting despite the AUD being better than the USD (or close to when i signed up). Not only this this Apps are sold to Australia at a higher rate, not at the exchange rate. and worse to when i paid for my phone all devices where close to $1000 as apposed to $500 in the US.

    Ok maybe i could live with that if what i was paying for is whats being advertised. I went to finalize my app last night and found my complete marketing strategy had to be changed because i lived in AU, why should this affect what adverts are shown as the app is selling internationally, maybe at a later date you can release region specific adverts but we should not be restricted with content because of out location

    My impression of Microsoft is quickly going from i have high hopes to your ripping me off simply because international trading is no way equal to US trading. WP7 Advertising, Zune Pass, WP7 Bing Maps, Xbox Kincent Voice Command, Constantly over priced (VS2010 is literally double the price in AU, Ultimate was selling at $20,000 when released, no one has been able to tell me why) . Not only this i'm sure the list goes on.

    Your an International Company, start acting like one before you start losing your international client to more friendly companies.

  • The Ad Control is still only available to US developers. Does Microsoft see this as a problem and understand/care that it gives US developers an unfair advantage? And have they considered *not* talking about it as if it were happily available to everyone, implying that if you're not based in the US you don't exist (sorry for the paranoid tone: I know they don't mean it that way but it grates).

    Are there concrete plans to improve the Bing features offered internationally? (and once again please stop talking about how great the experience is while ignoring the fact that for most of the world most features are unavailable).

    Oh, and being able to use Zune bits to actually, you know,  *buy music* would also be special.

    I really hate whining (and personally I'm waiting patiently for my NoDo update, not grizzling at all about that) but these are things (especially in fact the second and third points) that *must* be addressed for the credibility of the platform in an international market. At the very least it would help if in public statements on features Microsoft would drop the US-centric line that implies that all countries where those features are unavailable are non-existent or unimportant. Because, you know, that *annoys* people. Especially since that's an area in which Apple (except for iBooks) has done very well, and you don't want them showing you up do you?

  • ziibin
    2 Posts

    I would like to kown when China can get the support. China has a huge amount of .NET developers. I hope MS would not forget us.

  • Microsoft needs to listen to their customers. Please provide us with a more open way to at least TEST apps. Many of us don't mind paying a 90$ fee, but the GEOTRUST business is RIDICULOUS! Even people who are willing to PAY you are NOT GETTING WHAT THEY PAID FOR, and you are losing money, because people like us are demanding refunds (which are even difficult to get), so you are LOSING MONEY over this. We will pay if we get what we pay for! It's not that demanding of a request!

  • nitro52
    28 Posts

    I have to agree with Nzmike. The sign up process seems a total ripoff for australians. Why does it work so well for apple yet so badly when MS does it?

  • I've been following the comments on not letting the whole world in on WP7 development.

    I thought that:

    www.i-programmer.info/.../2102-the-developer-world-doesnt-love-windows-phone-7.htm

    put some of the points to a wider audience

  • nzmike
    1 Posts

    How does Microsoft just keep getting this VERY VERY VERY SIMPLE STUFF so wrong?!?!?!?!  

    If I develop for the iPhone I register with Apple, pay my money, give them my bank details here in Australia and THEN I GET PAID!!!   I *want* to keep developing apps for WP7 but if I don't live in the USA it is seemingly just not worth it.

    From what I understand here are my options as a non-US developer :

    I either pay ANOTHER AUD$160 to get my passport notarised/stamped etc, fill in mystifying IRS forms and then wait for months to *hopefully* get an ITIN.  (And if it's rejected  i have to pay that all over again as the IRS don't send the paperwork back).

    *OR*

    The IRS take 30% of the income if I don't get an ITIN which I then have to fill out *more* forms and wait *months* to get back - so in other words I'll be lucky to ever see it.

    *OR*

    I have to cut into even more of my measly profit (after GREEDY Micro$oft take their ridiculously huge chunk) to get it published by some third party company!!!

    MICROSOFT, WE ARE NOT ALL WRITING MEGA GAMES OR APPS THAT WILL MAKE US A MILLION OVERNIGHT!!!!

    YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS STUFF WORK FOR DEVELOPERS EVERYWHERE, NOT JUST IN THE USA!!!!

    What with the farcical updates situation (especially when Service Providers can decide to push it or not) and the ludicrous machinations you want us to go through to get paid for a few hundred sales of a lousy $1.99 app  I just don't know if it's worth developing for this platform anymore... which makes me sad as I do really enjoy developing for it.... I might just have to write my apps for me I guess.

    Swallow your pride and just do what Apple are doing - set up a PROPER GLOBAL developer and payment program so those of not from U.S. can start EASILY submitting our apps and EASILY getting paid instead of having to jump through endless flaming (and very expensive) hoops!!!

    You are quite simply alienating developers that aren't in the USA with these misguided programs - thanks a bunch Microsoft.  Still, par for the course - why make something simple when you can over-complicate it and grab even more revenue?

    AND FOR GOD'S SAKE GET THE MARKETPLACE BUGS FIXED - IT IS A COMPLETE PIECE OF RUBBISH!!!!

  • YallaApps claims to support South Africa, but they only support payouts via PayPal. There is only 1 bank in South Africa that supports payouts from PayPal, so in fact YallaApps is not really viable for us.

  • Snympi
    5 Posts

    Hi Todd

    My interest in WP7 development has been a love / hate affair.  The love part is clear - it's the same reason why  we are all interested in WP7 and reading these blogs.  We see the potential and benefits we have as developers.

    It is the hate part, unfortunately, has a couple of real stumbling blocks:

    * I can't register on App Hub because I don't live in one of the blessed countries

    * The seemingly good news of the Global Publisher Program turns out after further investigation to be nothing more than Microsoft endorsed extorsion.  Either pay us $50 to unlock you phone or you have nothing.  Either pay us $25 to submit every free app or otherwise you can't.  By lack of any other choice they can ask what they want.  For the same $99 other developers get 100 free certifications - something Yalla Apps is going to ask the equivaluent of $2500 for!

    * Somehow, Microsoft, of all people forgot about the importance of the enterprise.  Non-public internally used mobile applications that add fantastic value (as we had with WM) is now impossible.  The argument that quality needs to centrally controlled and verified is important, but only really when there is an anonymous relationship between the developer and end-user.  In the enterprise the developer and end-user probably sits in the same building, so quality is controlled the same way as all other PC based internally used applications.

    There seems to be no feedback from Microsoft to address these issues with clear expecations laid out.  Todd,  I really hope you update the blog again to address some of these concerns.

    Thanks

  • m.skala
    1 Posts

    Hi Todd,

    I really like the Windows Phone 7 as the system. But I don't like the developer policy. It's great that MS released developer tools for free. But if I want to develop a small application only for myself, I think there is no way to deploy it to my phone if I'm not registered and paying developer. And what if I want to publish free applications to Marketplace and don't want to pay for being registered developer? I want to make free applications for free.

    Now there are too many obstacles to developers like me.

    Developers! Developers! Developers! :o)

    Thanks

  • There is still a distinct lack of apps in the store, the sort of apps that people want and rely on, no matter which smartphone they use. News apps, tech blog apps. Microsoft needs to encourage developers and company's to create apps for windows phone 7.

  • So are we being punished? Developers wishing to do WP7 applications from Africa and some parts of Asia can now only access the market place by proxy and we have to endure a 20% surcharge on our revenues  (over and above Microsoft's 30%), We have to pay $99 for 100 credits, each app submission costs 25 credits whether it's a free or paid app, and development device unlocking costs 50 credits per device.

    What did we ever do to you people?

  • @Iñigo Lopez

    Thanks for the reply but your answer is even more scary:

    1/ "the workaround is for users to delete the app and redownload the new trial version"

    The "workaround" does NOT work, users cannot simply delete the app and reinstall.

    We have several apps in this case: if you uninstall then "download" again from the Marketplace, the app doesn't even get "downloaded" (so obviously it doesn't get updated)

    Worth mentioning that when you try to update it in the Marketplace, the size of the app is listed as ludicrously huge: 628736MB, another one with 2146304 MB (that's 2.4 Terabytes!).

    Our offer to bring the affected phone to a MS office still stands if you want the proof of that and an opportunity to debug it.

    Please read the comments on the forum:

    forums.create.msdn.com/.../448821.aspx

    There is no known workaround.

    Users are stuck with their old Trial version

    2/ "We are aware of the trial bug"

    If so, why post something that will make developers think "Trial mode is awesome I'm gonna do that on all my apps"?

    I'm sure this post will lure devs into creating or modifying their apps to use the Trial mode.

    And then they will painfully realize their users cannot update the app.

    We totally dropped the Trial feature for now until there is finally something rock solid.

    Hopefully the fix you mention really does correct it, but if you were not even aware that your workaround doesn't work, our hopes are very low.

    Thanks

    http://pastaGapp.com

  • Be sure to include a more modest font size

    .

    Words ain't fitting on the screen

    I be checking by 2012 :P

  • The Ad Control is of course just another item on the feature matrix that isn't available outside the US. That hardly creates a level playing field, does it?

  • iseif
    6 Posts

    "Global Publisher Program" - good step Microsoft!! Finally we can submit our apps!!

    We are still waiting for a global marketplace so everyone can buy apps (this will give a good benefit for all the developers in WP7).

  • Please, give us a date for when we will be able to use ads in the UK and other areas. This is one of the major requests I have seen for Non-UK developers.

  • Wissam
    1 Posts

    I am not sure i understand why a developer should join Yalla Apps. I can submit the app and resubmit it if it fails w/o paying w/ credits, is that only for US?

  • Navin
    1 Posts

    Hi Todd,

    Is there any plan to have the marketplace available for users from India?

    Thanks,

    Navin

  • Are we able to install apps outside of the Microsoft Market Place yet like the "Free Market" Android or are we still going down the communistic Apple route?

  • ScubaDog
    141 Posts

    "Forthcoming update"?  I hate to break it to you, but according to AT&T there IS no forthcoming update.  A number of calls to their technical support have revealed the same answer: the Samsung Focus is not being updated.  So, either every CSR and tech I've talked to at AT&T is clueless or AT&T truly is blocking the update.  The bottom line is that carriers should not be ALLOWED to block updates.

  • @bottomless.net

    We are aware of the trial bug that blocks users from updating an app under trial to a new version. Right now the workaround is for users to delete the app and redownload the new trial version from Marketplace.

    We have already built the fix for this bug which will be going out in a forthcoming Windows Phone OS update.

    Thanks,

    Inigo

    Microsoft

  • I find it great how you listen and quickly respond to our feedback! Right now it is a real pleasure to develop for this platform. One of the few points that still makes us suffer is the U.S.-only limitation of the Ad SDK. It would be great to get at least a tentative timeline for internationalization.

  • Yalla Apps has all (?) countries in the world in country dropdown in the registration form. Yet you mention that it's for MEA. Can you clarify if it's really for MEA only and why other countries are available in the dropdown then?

  • kdingal
    2 Posts

    Oh from the title I thought you where going to tell us about the actual update that was supposed to be coming in early March? Will there ever be an official release from Microsoft for when the update will appear? I am quite tired of not being able to even look at the market place without it crashing and having to restart the phone. I have spent the day looking for somewhere to post my question but it seems the simplicity of the phone hasn't been used in websites surrounding windows phone. Sorry.

  • Giovy79
    1 Posts

    Global Publisher Program excellent news!. Will it be soon for Latin America?

    Global Publisher Program excelente noticia!!!. ¿Estará pronto para Latinoamerica?

    Best regards!

    Saludos!

  • dkb1898
    167 Posts

    @UCFw00t - Excellent Point! I think the marketplace in general needs a major overhaul/improvement, and not just on the phone, but in the Zune desktop software, and through Bing Visual Search. I find it pretty useless right now unless I know exactly what app I'm looking for.

  • UCFw00t
    7 Posts

    Users have been trained (by nature and other platforms) to look for free apps. They don't even bother looking at trials. Trial apps should be separated like free apps are.

  • I agree, trials are great. They just need to be more discoverable in the Marketplace.

  • Yalla Apps URL is wrong, it should be http://www.yallaapps.com/

  • Hi Todd,

    It's nice to paint a rosy picture of the Trial Apps (and we do believe it's a wonderful feature) but don't forget to mention that since the launch there is a critical bug that prevents any app using the Trial mode to be updated.

    This clearly causes some frustration for both the devs and the customers.

    Also you're talking about both Ads and extending to other countries, so what is the status on displaying ads to other countries than the US?

    Right now it seems the Microsoft Ad Control supports only the US, leaving the rest of the world unreachable for devs who use it.

    Thanks

    http://pastaGapp.com