Microsoft ramps up Windows Phone app store

Company working with developers on submission process for Windows Phone Marketplace relaunch

Looking to provide the best shopping experience for mobile applications, Microsoft is engaging developers in a phased approach with its upcoming Windows Phone Marketplace relaunch.

The online application marketplace will enable users to buy applications for Windows Phone 7 units. Windows Phone 7, Microsoft's next-generation smartphone platform, will be formally launched on Oct. 11 with the phones themselves due to hit the market by the upcoming holiday season.

In a blog post Monday, Microsoft's Todd Brix, senior director of Windows Phone Marketplace, emphasized Microsoft's intentions to boost the developer experience in the marketplace and to offer the top shopping experience.

"We've given Marketplace an overhaul so that the quality of the developer experience in distributing apps and games matches our commitment to the customer experience on our new phone," Brix said. "The fair and transparent policies that we use to govern app certification remain intact, and we still strive to offer the industry's best shopping experience for finding full-featured apps and games that meet or exceed customer expectations."

The game plan for Windows Phone Marketplace during the next eight days is as follows:

  • Oct. 4 - Registered developers have been contacted and invited to request early submission to the Marketplace certification process.
  • Oct. 6 - Deadline for registered developers to respond to the invitation. An initial group of about 2,000 developers will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis to receive guidance for early access and to the application submission and certification process.
  • Oct. 11 - Participants in the early certification program will get instructions on submitted xap files, enabling applications to be published in the Marketplace.
  • Oct. 12 - Microsoft will continue processing submissions and prioritizing requests based on order received until the self-serve submission process is broadly enabled.

"We expect to make Windows Phone Marketplace fully available to all developers in November, giving end-users and developers alike the kind of quality experience that we hope will establish a rewarding long term relationship with Windows Phone. Test and near final apps and games are already showing up on pre-production devices," Brix said.

After phones become available, the Marketplace will provide developers with insights on application performance within the app store, Microsoft said. The company is partnering with vendors such as AT&T and LG to bring these phones to market.

Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, however, must compete in a fiercely competitive market where rivals such as Google and Apple already have been fighting it out, while Microsoft has remained largely on the sidelines.

Windows Phone Developer Tools have been downloaded more than 500,000 times in 200 countries, Brix said.

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Paul Krill

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