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January 5, 2016

Windows 10 Store Growth Creates New Developer Opportunity in 2016

As we welcome 2016, I thought it only fitting to provide an update on our progress since the Windows 10 launch on July 29.

As announced yesterday, over 200 million PCs, tablets and phones across the globe are now running Windows 10, the fastest growth trajectory of any version of Windows, outpacing Windows 7 by nearly 140% and Windows 8 by nearly 400%. And, accounting for 67% of all Store downloads across PC and tablet in December.

These new Windows 10 customers are discovering and engaging with the Store at a higher rate than ever before with over 3 Billion Store visits since the Windows 10 launch. While it’s early yet, the promise of Windows 10 is beginning to pay off. Over the holiday selling season, we saw a 2x increase in the number of paid transactions from PC and tablet customers over last year. Looking at the month of December, 60% of those paying customers were new to the Store, with Windows 10 generating 4.5x more revenue per device, as compared to Windows 8.

Both the growth of Windows 10 customer base and the increase in customer engagement (both with the Store and with the apps themselves) will enable us to deliver on our promise of providing a platform where developers can find growing success. For some of you, that means finding new success on the PC, and for others, Windows 10 represents an opportunity to bring your existing code to 200 million, and growing, devices. Recently, NPR and several other partners shared some highlights of their Windows 10 results:

“Seventy percent of NPR listeners use Windows devices, and we’ve seen a 50-percent increase in their listening time just since Windows 10 came out. And that was before we upgraded our app.”

Ben Schein, Product Manager at NPR

In addition, Box recently shared their positive experiences developing for the Universal Windows Platform, while providing an experience for their users, regardless of the version of Windows they might be using:

“By combining the two apps in Windows 10 as a universal Windows app, it decreased our engineering overhead, and increased our velocity for future iterations. We’re really excited about this.”

Lois Wang, Senior Product Manager at Box

As we begin 2016, our focus remains unchanged. We will continue to drive Windows 10 adoption and make investments in these 5 areas to help developers be successful:

  1. Expanded payment options. To enable a broad range of customers to purchase your apps, we are expanding carrier billing to Windows 10 PCs and tablets, in addition to phones. This investment is especially important, as roughly 88% of the world’s population does not have a credit card (Source: World Bank, 2014). Customers need only enter their mobile phone number to purchase via any Windows 10 device. This capability was released for the Windows 10 platform in mid-November and is now live with O2 in Germany, Swisscom in Switzerland and Sprint in the US, with a robust pipeline of new connections planned in 2016. While these connections have just come online, early results show a 40% increase in operator billed sales. Carrier billing rounds out a range of payment options beyond credit cards: Alipay, PayPal, traditional gift cards, digital gifting and Bitcoin (US only).
  2. Enhanced monetization. We also continue to simplify and expand monetization models available to developers. With Windows 10, ad mediation is now available across PC, tablet and phone, enabling those of you who monetize with advertising to maximize your fill rate and grow revenue. In November, we announced a partnership with Vungle to offer in-app video ads. Over the coming months we will also begin testing new subscription capabilities announced at Build 2015, piloting the capability with a few partners and expanding availability based on the feedback we receive. We now also offer capabilities to enable you to more easily track and optimize your monetization strategy.
  3. Increased app discoverability. We’ve taken a number of actions to help users discover high quality apps, including the new Windows Store UI, algorithms and in-product app promotion, as well as the addition of a new Deals Hub app and Collection in the Store. We’ve also begun investing in a regular cadence of cross-Store sales and promotions to drive traffic, including the recent 10 days of 10-cent deals over the Black Friday holiday and Countdown to 2016, both of which contributed to this year’s strong holiday results. You can expect a full line-up of promotions and marketing activities in 2016. And, with the new Windows Store Affiliate Program, you can run your own promotions and earn additional revenue.

    For those of you with apps tailored toward organizational users, Windows 10 is also seeing rapid adoption with organizations, and the new Windows Store for Business provides an excellent way to reach them. Over 76% of Microsoft’s global enterprise customers are now in active pilots of Windows 10, with more than 22 million devices running Windows 10 across enterprise and education organizations. The new Windows Store for Business, launched in mid-November and offering free content in select markets, is in pilot with several thousand enterprise, education and small business organizations today. By the spring, this new storefront will be available in over 30 markets for distribution of free apps with paid app support coming later this calendar year.
  4. Existing code welcome. Whether you’re an experienced Windows app developer or just getting started, we want to make it easy to bring your app or game to the Store. To that end, we’re building a number of Windows Bridges to more quickly expand your reach to the Universal Windows Platform. Two toolkits shipped in 2015, and more are coming in 2016.
    • For web developers, you can quickly package your existing web site into Windows 10 hosted web apps. Once packaged, your server-based code can use the Store for discovery and distribution, and you can extend your code to use Windows device capabilities, notifications and monetization. I highly suggest taking 5 minutes in Windows App Studio to try your adaptive design website as a Windows app to see how easy it really is.
    • Windows Phone Silverlight developers were delighted to see the release of Mobilize.NET’s Silverlight bridge in late 2015. This bridge is an API mapping tool that eases migration of existing Windows Phone 8 projects to the Universal Windows Platform, enabling distribution to all devices running Windows 10.
    • We open-sourced the Windows Bridge for iOS to GitHub under an MIT license, making it possible to use Objective-C to build native UWP apps, as well as making it easier to reuse your iOS code on Windows 10. Since release, the team has been providing regular updates, with ARM support targeted for preview later this month.
    • Lastly, we continue to work with numerous partners to ensure that Windows 10 is a deployment option for those using cross-platform tools and game engines such as Unity and Marmalade.
  5. And finally – get more done in fewer steps. We’ve made a good deal of progress to minimize the app submission and management flows since Build 2015 starting with the convergence of the Windows Phone and Windows Dev Centers in addition to adding pubCenter for Microsoft Advertising. We’ve enhanced reporting and app promotion capabilities, and added sale pricing and most recently added support for multiple users within a single Dev Center account with roles – the number one request from all of you. Later this week we will begin the next phase in the rollout of the new single age rating workflow, based on the global rating and age classification system, IARC.

While we have much more work to do, we’ve delivered a number of new capabilities and tools since Build 2015 and the Windows 10 launch. We hope you’ll take the plunge in 2016 and update your existing apps to Windows 10 and bring that idea for a new app to the Windows platform. Happy New Year!