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  #1  
Old 03-20-2009, 02:00 PM
Darius Wey
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Default Microsoft to Charge Developers a Submission Token/Fee Per App Update?

<p><em>"On a related note, the presentation confirmed that the new Windows Marketplace for Mobile will apply application updates directly on the device. However it also appears application updates will require developers to resubmit their application for approval which would then cost a submission token or fee and take time to process."</em></p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/ppct/auto/1237542954.usr2.jpg" /></p><p>Allow me to place&nbsp;<a href="http://www.istartedsomething.com/20090320/mix09-windows-mobile-65-shows-more-polish/" target="_blank">Long Zheng's words</a>&nbsp;(quoted above) into context. When Microsoft unveiled the <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2009/mar09/03-11WMMDevelopersPR.mspx" target="_blank">Windows Marketplace for Mobile</a> a week ago, it outlined details pertaining to program enrollment and the application submission process. To join the program, developers pay an annual registration fee of $99. That fee includes five application submissions per year. When a developer consumes all five submission tokens in a given year, each additional application submission within the same year costs $99, whether it's a free or paid application.</p><p>Now, this probably wouldn't restrict the average developer too much, as he or she is unlikely to release five new applications in a given year. However, a real problem emerges once these submission tokens are applied to application updates as well as new applications, which is actually the case, if Long's words speak the truth. It's not uncommon for developers, especially those who actively respond to customer feedback, to release more than five application updates in a given year. But who can blame a developer for being discouraged when they're being slapped with a $99 fee per update after the fifth update?</p><p><MORE /></p><p>I can only see these draconian policies resulting in one of four outcomes: (1) the frequency of application updates declines, so bug fixes and new features are delivered at a much slower pace; (2) developers, particularly those struggling to make a decent return on investment, pass these costs on to consumers in the form of higher prices; (3) developers withdraw from the Windows Marketplace for Mobile and stick to third-party or self-established storefronts; or (4) developers switch to a different platform with more inviting application store and developer program policies.</p><p>Consumers aren't going to like the first and second outcomes. The third outcome conflicts with the very purpose of Microsoft establishing its own marketplace. And generally, all outcomes are highly undesirable if Microsoft aims to stave off the competition, and make Windows Mobile as appealing as possible to the average consumer.</p><p>Your thoughts?</p>
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  #2  
Old 03-20-2009, 02:32 PM
emuelle1
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As a 6 year Windows Mobile user, I'm honestly not hearing anything from Microsoft or it's "partners" that is making me consider not ditching the platform for the iPhone.

Does anyone know if Microsoft is going to lock out the current model, where you can buy applications (and update them) directly from the developers, or through a service like Handango.com? If Microsoft tries to lock users and developers into an app store format with rules like that, I'm not convinced that they'll maintain the market share that they currently enjoy. Personally, I'm getting disillusioned with the platform.
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  #3  
Old 03-20-2009, 02:51 PM
Darius Wey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emuelle1 View Post
Does anyone know if Microsoft is going to lock out the current model, where you can buy applications (and update them) directly from the developers, or through a service like Handango.com?
To my understanding, that model will still exist; developers will still be able to sell their application directly to the consumer or through third-party storefronts like MobiHand and Handango.
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  #4  
Old 03-20-2009, 03:01 PM
Phillip Dyson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darius Wey View Post
But who can blame a developer for being discouraged when they're being slapped with a $99 fee per update after the fifth update?
If I were WebIS or SBSH I would be very concerned about this. These companies have multiple popular applications and frequently release minor updates for fixes or new features.

Come to think of it, as a customer or said companies, I'm very concerned. Will this discourage their updates? I don't know what their revenue streams look like but part of me would think that its a relatively small impact.

Perhaps Microsoft would modify their fee model to account for free updates versus paid upgrades.
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  #5  
Old 03-20-2009, 03:09 PM
Stinger
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I can see Microsoft's logic here. It's Microsoft's shop and ultimately they're responsible for the content on it. They've got to make sure that none of the apps on their store are doing anything naughty. It doesn't matter if it's a new app or an update - someone at Microsoft will have to test it.

However, it'll certainly be detrimental to third party developers and consumers. I can see developers simply withholding updates. Apps that were once updated six times a year might only be updated once a year.
 
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  #6  
Old 03-20-2009, 03:16 PM
emuelle1
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I'm likely, if I don't ditch Windows Mobile, to just avoid the app store. It works for Apple because Apple does spend a lot of time thinking about the usability. Microsoft has a habit of saying "hey, somebody else is making lots of money at this, so we should too!" Advertising and search are two things I can think of off the top of my head, neither of which Microsoft has done well at all. Live search is useless. If I need to find a page on Microsoft's site, I can find it a lot faster on Google than I can on Microsoft's Live search engine.

Apple rolled out the App store after spending some time thinking that they would eventually have to allow 3rd party applications on the iPhone but wanted to maintain control over the platform. I see no indication that Microsoft has processed this any farther than "Hey, Apple did really good at this. If we duplicate the concept, we can make lots of money too!"

I want to be wrong, but I have little confidence that a Windows Mobile app store will provide any benefit to users or developers.
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  #7  
Old 03-20-2009, 03:22 PM
efjay
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MS just doesnt seem to get it, do they? They always manage to make their offerings just that bit more undesirable than their competitors, time after time after time. Devs saying they are leaving to other platforms, consumers flocking to competitors, WM websites now switching over to cover the iphone - much as I like WM for the freedom it affords me its becoming clear, WM is definitely on the decline, it may not die completely but it is certainly on its way to becoming the last choice for mobile consumers.
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  #8  
Old 03-20-2009, 04:27 PM
frazell
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I'm not sure why Microsoft seems to get so much hatred. No matter what they do people seem to yell at them in anger...

As a new company entering the mobile app space I'm not angry with the way Micrsoft is structuring pricing. If anything, I'm actually quite pleased with it. The pricing model is very affordable.

For starters... They have to charge you on each update. The application, even an update, has to be re-signed with the digital certificate and they have to ensure the store quality guidelines are being met. If they didn't do it this way then there would be no incentive for developers to maintain compliance with the store guideliness other than for their initial listing. This is a plus for consumers! It means you'll get the more stable updates through the app store, as it should be. You won't be seeing beta releases thrown up.

As a developer, you don't have any losses here. The advanced user can be targeted with updates directly from your website and the basic user can get a solid testing update throught the app store.

I Think this story blows it all out of proportion as the App Store is a fantastic setup as implemented.

Not to mention, seriously $100 a year is nothing. Unless your app is free if it isn't making more than $100 a year you've got more problems than being charged for an update.
 
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  #9  
Old 03-20-2009, 04:47 PM
Birdsoft
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I am excited and yet a little concerned on this and would love to get some clarification.

1. Im starting with over 5 applications in my catalog that are not end of lifed and work great on WM6+ but wont submit them all until I see the performance of the store, thus already greatly limiting the quality titles in their store if other developers feel the same.

2. On just one of my programs I did over 7 updates last year(and felt this was a comparitively slow year for updates). I would really hope that those tokens dont count towards updates, or yes feature/fix updates will be limited for budgetary concerns. If this is the case they didnt really study the existing market that is in place as this is not a good idea.

And just like on the current distributors, if you have policed us coming into the program there is no super reason to completely re-test every update. The distributors like Handango and MobiHand are just as responsible for the content and they don't re-test every application to verify that something isnt snuck in under their nose. There needs to be some level of trust there and so update testing(which can be done) doesnt need to be as thorough a process and should not cost $99 to cover. It should be covered just fine in their 30%....

In the worst case that Ive NEVER heard happen, if a developer tries to game the system by "Sneaking in Porn" or anything like that, you remove the application once its caught and dont pay them and even if need be kick them out of the store.

3. I have applications that are on both Standard and Professional so do I have to burn a token on each. In that case I can submit like 2.5 applications total before Im being charged per submission.

4. If the seamless approval is like Mobile 2 Market and the current signing process, then I hope they do better documenting and explanations. The only reason I have not done M2M is because the documentation was unclear as to whether I would be rejected for small things that were done on purpose but may not follow exactly a certain vague UI rule, and if I would have to pay again to have the process started over. And I have went through the process and can do signing but that uses a token system and limited development and updates after you jumped through all the hoops of even getting it setup. And there was no good source to get a hold of for my questions.

5. It appears that they are taking away the shareware/trial nature of WM through the store so all applications will have to be re-written to be full versions. Im not sure how good a model that is, its the source of a lot of the mess on iPhone's AppStore. Hopefully they link "Free" trial versions into the main application's product page in the store and not treat it as a separate program like AppStore.
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  #10  
Old 03-20-2009, 06:20 PM
superrrguy
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I think this is a good idea. Having thousands of useless apps is not beneficial for anyone. I much prefer 10 apps or under that are $99 each.

I'd pay $99 for WinFart if I knew that it was put through a vigorous and expensive approval process.
 
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