Windows Phone Marketplace: The New Policies
"Today we're introducing the new set of Windows Phone Marketplace policies that will govern the application submission and certification process as Windows Phone 7 comes to market. We're taking the next step with Marketplace to attract a much wider range of developers, from large software companies down to students and hobbyists. We introduced our first Marketplace eight months ago and have already shown that there is demand for an app store that is both customer-centric AND developer friendly. Marketplace is evolving to give people a great selection of beautiful apps for Windows Phone 7 that we will take steps to ensure are high-quality and don't introduce security or reliability issues. At the same time, we're giving developers the respect they deserve in our use of transparent and uniform policies that still give developers the necessary information and flexibility to explore creative sales and marketing models. For Windows Phone 7, we're keeping the basic tenets of our existing Marketplace philosophy and making a few enhancements for developers."
I'm not a developer, so take my analysis of this with a grain of virtual salt, but I have to wonder if Microsoft is really feel desperate enough yet when it comes to wooing developers. Take the $99 annual registration fee; sure, now you can submit an unlimited number of apps, which is great, but why have the fee at all? Next to Palm Web OS, I'd say Microsoft has the least amount of developer momentum on a mobile platform - Microsoft needs to work harder to get developers on board.
I just loaded up Marketplace on my HD2, and with the filter set to United States - English, I counted 645 apps in total. That's a rounding error on Apple's App store...Microsoft, you really need to work harder to get developers on board. I'm certain that the high-end hardware on Windows Phone 7 devices will bring a lot of great developers to the table, but even with that, I think Microsoft should give away their dev tools and have 12 or even 24 months of all app submissions being free - they need to build momentum with developers, and making it "barrier free" to develop for Windows Phone is a good start.