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Microsoft unveils Windows Marketplace fees, splits, hopes, and dreams

Microsoft unveils Windows Marketplace fees, splits, hopes, and dreams
Joshua Topolsky
Joshua Topolsky|March 11, 2009 9:56 AM

Microsoft has begun laying out plans for its version of the App Store -- dubbed the Windows Marketplace -- with some familiar numbers, and a few unfamiliar tweaks. According to Ina Fried, the company will charge developers an annual fee of $99 to become part of the ecosystem, and an additional $99 for every app they submit (though throughout 2009, they'll have a chance to submit five apps at no cost). A rep from the big M states that the fee is "an acceptable cost of doing business for [software developers] looking to get in front of millions of customers," and justifies the charge on the grounds that Microsoft will "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."

Additionally, the company maintains that the process will offer "complete transparency throughout the application submission process," which indicates the folks in Redmond wouldn't mind courting devs who've been burned by Apple's opaque, confusing, and sometimes unfair system of approval. Besides the flat rates, Microsoft will take 30 percent of earnings from sales just as Apple and Google do -- the lone standout being RIM, who's generously offering 80 percent to devs (though hasn't exactly been blowing doors off hinges with its movement on fostering development). Microsoft's Marketplace will debut with the launch of Windows Mobile 6.5 in Q4 2009, though developers can apparently register come Spring, and start submitting this Summer.