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By | Gavin Clarke 11th March 2009 16:00

Windows app store breaks old ground for Microsoft

Pitches 'honesty' not better price at Apple

Microsoft hopes to differentiate its online app store against Apple with the promise of honesty if not better pricing.

The company has said it'll charge developers 30 per cent of any revenue made from sales of applications posted to Microsoft's forthcoming Windows Marketplace for Mobile.

Also, Microsoft will charge you an annual $99 membership fee to join the program.

So far, Microsoft's planned store is looking very much like Apple's App Store and related developer program.

There are some very Microsoftesque touches, though.

In a twist for a company that believes in Client Access Licenses (CALs), and bizarrely for an organization that desperately needs new developers, that $99 will limit the number of applications you can submit to the planned online store in a year to just five.

That's just submissions - there's no guarantee your application will actually finally make it into the online store. There are no guidelines from Microsoft on what will be approved.

Each additional individual submission will thereafter cost you a further $99.

Microsoft has reportedly tried to justify the price as "an acceptable cost of doing business for [software developers] looking to get in front of millions of customers," adding the charges will let Microsoft "run a rigorous certification process to ensure that the end user's experience is optimal, and that the device and network resources aren't used in a malicious way."

The company appears to be banking on the fact it can overcome these price hurdles by running a cleaner and more transparent service than Apple.

Apple's App Store has been shrouded by secrecy when it come to terms and conditions for developers who pay their own $99 fee to join up. Also, it's not been unclear who's in charge and what the guidelines are when it comes to OKing apps for the store.

That was clearly re-enforced this week week when it came to the subject of taste and decency. The company's censors initially drew the line at swearing on the blessed iPhone, but were quite relaxed on the subjects of breaking wind and permitting people to throw away huge chunks of cash on pointless pieces of iPhone software.

Cognizant of Apple's pains, senior product manager for Windows Marketplace for Mobile Inigo Lopez reportedly said Microsoft would tell developers specifically what kinds of programs it will what accept. Lopez offered no details only that criteria will include security, content and how much of a wireless carrier's bandwidth an application consumes.

"The rules will be very objective," Lopez reportedly promised. ®

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