Controversy erupts over possible MS mobile app fee

The software giant appears ready to charge for updates to apps in the forthcoming Marketplace

Microsoft may charge developers if they submit within a year more than five applications or application updates to the Windows Mobile Marketplace, a move that has some developers concerned that the store won't be able to compete with the iPhone App Store or the Android Market.

On Friday, a member of Microsoft's Windows Mobile team posted a Twitter note about a promotion that will let initial Marketplace developers get five free application submissions.

The note describes upgrades and updates to applications as new application submissions.

Microsoft first publicly unveiled the Marketplace concept in February and has only slowly released details about how the store will work.

While the company has already said that developers will be allowed to submit five applications for an annual US$99 fee, this is the first hint that application updates will count as additional applications.

The implication has set off a debate among developers.

Some believe that the move will help improve the overall quality of applications in the store, discouraging people from submitting low-quality or useless applications, but others say that the move will drive developers toward the iPhone and Android platforms, where they don't have to pay for application updates.

"The 99 USD fee for updates could actually lead to higher quality software. Instead of emphasizing speed to market, some developers will be better off ensuring that their programs work properly before submitting them; there's a tangible cost for not doing so," wrote one developer going by the name Alcedes on the MSMobiles forum.

But others expect that the fee will drive developers away and potentially result in lower-quality applications.

"If developers have to pay to apply bug fixes (which in themselves are unlikely to attract additional customers), the chances of even recovering expenses diminish with each fix or enhancement. This is brainless," wrote Kevin Daly, a .Net developer who lives in New Zealand, in response to a blog post about the issue.

Microsoft did not reply to a request for comment and clarification about the charge or about the size of the fee.

On his blog, one Microsoft technical product manager, Loke Uei Tan, said he'd update his blog with additional details about why the company is charging for updates once he "gets the official word."

Microsoft's Marketplace store will launch this year, a year after Apple introduced its iPhone App Store, which popularized the notion of buying applications for mobile phones.

It also follows the mobile application store opened by Google for its Android phone last year. Google developers pay $25 and iPhone developers pay $99 to join the respective developer programs.

Research In Motion, Palm and Nokia also are planning new application stores for their devices.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Windows Mobilemobile applicationsiphone app storeMicrosoftandroid market

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?