Microsoft vows openness for mobile app store

Mar 11, 2009 By JESSICA MINTZ , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Microsoft Corp. plans a central market to sell programs for cell phones running the Windows Mobile system. It hews closely to the setup of Apple Inc.'s App Store for iPhones, with one notable exception - Microsoft promises to communicate more openly with outside software developers.

Apple started what has become an "" arms race a year ago, giving software programmers a single place to market applications to enthusiastic owners. The overnight success of the model - claimed 10 million downloads in a weekend - was followed by Google Inc.'s similar one-stop shop for its Android phone system.

, Nokia Corp. and Research in Motion Ltd. have announced similar intentions recently.

Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft was set to reveal more details of its own effort Wednesday. Like Apple in its App Store, Microsoft plans to take 30 percent of sales from the for Mobile. Software programmers who want to sell applications through the must pay $99 a year for the privilege, the same fee Apple charges. Programmers can set their own prices, starting at 99 cents, or give their programs away, as long as they pass Microsoft's muster.

Apple's App Store gave programmers a way to profit from the iPhone's mounting buzz. It also drew criticism from some who said the company is too secretive about the process. Developers have complained that it takes weeks or more for Apple to approve or reject their submissions and that reasons for rejections are murky or inconsistent.

Apple declined to comment.

Microsoft vows it will be more forthright and responsive than Apple has been.

Inigo Lopez, a senior product manager for Windows Marketplace for Mobile, said in an interview that Microsoft will tell software makers specifically what kinds of programs it will accept - and what won't fly. He offered few details, but said criteria will include security, content and how much of a wireless carrier's bandwidth an app eats up.

"The rules will be very objective," Lopez said.

Software makers will be able to log on to a Microsoft site to see where programs stand during the submission process and review sales figures for approved applications.

More than 20,000 programs already exist for phones, and cell phone owners can seek them out on sites like and But the sites aren't well-publicized and there is no single place to get all of the apps, posing a distribution problem for the software makers.

"Microsoft should have done this a long time ago," said Michael Gartenberg, vice president of strategy and analysis for Los Angeles-based market research group Interpret LLC.

Microsoft prides itself on long-standing relationships with programmers whose fresh applications keep consumers interested in buying a new Windows computer, for example. But a smash hit on Apple's centralized repository of iPhone programs could mean big business for small developers. Gartenberg said Microsoft must get its own store up and running to keep those developers from switching to Apple.

Microsoft said developers will be able to start submitting their programs this summer. Once the store is up and running, Windows Mobile users will be able to buy programs through an application on their handsets or from a Web site.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Review: Windows Phone advances with 8.1 update

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US struggles to pinpoint cyber attacks: Top official

Mar 10, 2009

The United States often cannot quickly or reliably trace a cyber attack back to its source, even as rival nations and extremists may be looking to wage virtual war, a top official warned Tuesday.

Hewlett Packard to create 500 jobs in Ireland

Mar 10, 2009

US technology company Hewlett Packard is to create 500 jobs with an 18-million-euro (23-million-dollar) expansion of its global service desk operation in Leixlip, County Kildare southwest of Dublin, Prime ...

Recommended for you

Enabling dynamic prioritization of data in the cloud

Apr 14, 2014

IBM inventors have patented a cloud computing invention that can improve quality of service for clients by enabling data to be dynamically modified, prioritized and shared across a cloud environment.

Uber meets local lookalikes in Asia taxi-app wars

Apr 14, 2014

Riding on its startup success and flush with fresh capital, taxi-hailing smartphone app Uber is making a big push into Asia. There's a twist, though: Instead of being the game-changing phenomena it was in ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Mar 11, 2009
"Microsoft should have done this a long time ago,"

lol. only this, and a million other things.

More news stories

Intel reports lower 1Q net income, higher revenue

Intel's earnings fell in the first three months of the year amid a continued slump in the worldwide PC market, but revenue grew slightly because of solid demand for tablet processors and its data center services.

Low Vitamin D may not be a culprit in menopause symptoms

A new study from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) shows no significant connection between vitamin D levels and menopause symptoms. The study was published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopa ...

Astronomers: 'Tilt-a-worlds' could harbor life

A fluctuating tilt in a planet's orbit does not preclude the possibility of life, according to new research by astronomers at the University of Washington, Utah's Weber State University and NASA. In fact, ...