What’s up with the Marketplace?

Well, there have been some questions regarding ‘Windows Marketplace’. I’ll sum up information I’ve found regarding this.

So you’ve developed your app and you want to sell it. In order to do so, you have to put your app on Windows Marketplace (think App Store for WP7). Firstly, you have to register. The questions asked are usually about costs. At the time of this writing, it costs $99 per year to register on Marketplace. This entitles you to upload as many paid apps (i.e. those that you charge for) as you like. However, you can only upload 5 free apps. Any extra free apps will incur a fee of just under $20 per free app. Those are the main costs of Marketplace. If you’re a student, the $99 fee is waived – check out  the DreamSpark site for more info.

The obvious question is, why do fees have to be paid – especially on free apps?

Well, I can’t speak for MS, but I think the fee pays for the signing off of your apps. When you submit your application, it has to be reviewed to make sure that it meets the criteria and follows all guidelines. It then has to be tested to ensure that it works properly and doesn’t cause any problems (e.g. interrupt with basic phone functions, lock up, isn’t malware etc…). It then has to be signed so that it can work on mobile devices. The cost for this process is covered by your fee. Another reason a fee is a good idea, is to increase the barriers to entry somewhat. We’re all aware of the number of pointless apps available in the App Store. This could be curbed slightly by having a fee. This links in to why you have to pay to upload free apps. Once again, the deterrent would put off some would-be developers of pointless apps. Since the development tools and SDK are free, anyone can create an app. To not have any barriers to the Marketplace would just result in it being flooded with rubbish, buggy programs which would dilute decent applications and make it hard for users to find what they’re looking for. Why do developers have to pay to upload more than 5 free apps? Well, my guess is that it’s partly to do with the aforementioned problem with useless applications. But I think it’s also because MS don’t make any money from free apps since with paid apps there is a 70:30 split (developers:MS).

Well, that’s the info I’ve gathered so far regarding Windows Marketplace for WP7. Any questions/comments, feel free to post or get in touch. You can email me at the address in my profile.

-keyboardP

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