Microsoft has adjusted its app payout date for Windows Phone 7 developers, and is offering new and tweaked app reporting and submission tools.
Microsoft is adjusting its schedule of payouts to Windows
Phone 7 developers, offering a way to track app performance on its mobile
Marketplace, and streamlining developer registration and submissions.
This could be a response to developer complaints percolating
through the blogosphere over the past few weeks. Many of those developers
harped about Windows Phone 7's apparent inability to report how many times
users have downloaded a particular app.
"Currently I have no idea how many copies of GoVoice are
sold nor did I receive a single paycheck," Nicholas Yu, creator of the GoVoice
in a Nov. 22 posting on his blog
. "Implementing Push is a very risky thing
for me because I need to justify that the expenses will cover the maintenance
cost of a Push server."
Starting Dec. 9, Microsoft is apparently offering a "Report"
links through Windows Phone 7's app-submission platform, App Hub
, that will offer current download
and transaction reporting information for apps and games.
There are two types of report: Download Reports, which offer
a graphical view of daily and cumulative downloads, among other data; and
Payout Reports, with payout data for all Marketplace applications.
"These reporting features include the ability for you to
create custom views and apply filters," reads a Dec. 9 posting by Todd Brix on The
Windows Phone Developer Blog
, "providing the flexibility to see app
performance data the way you want to help make app development and business
decisions. Reports can be filtered by dae, country and application."
developers had complained about Windows Phone 7's payout schedule for apps
originally scheduled to begin February 2011. Microsoft had previously been
adamant about that timetable, but now seems to be changing its tune.
"Back in October I shared that developer payouts for app and
game sales would begin in February," Brix wrote in his Dec. 9 posting. "We are
pleased to now announce that the first payouts for Windows Phone 7 sales will
be made in the fourth week of January 2011."
Those payouts will include "payment on all sales of Windows
Phone 7 apps and games that occurred after the phones became available in
October 2010 through the end of December 2010."
After January 2011, Microsoft will process developer payouts
on a monthly basis, for both Windows Phone 6.x and Windows Phone 7 apps.
Other Dec. 9 releases include a number of claimed fixes to
the app registration and submission process. Developers from certain countries
"were reporting issues with postal code rules that were not applicable to their
locale," according to Brix. "We re-structured these rules to accommodate
developers from these regions and they are now able to register successfully."
When it comes to re-submitting applications, he added, "the
steps were unclear to many developers and resulted in the erroneous impression
that the submission process was completed, when it was not." That issue has now
been fixed, apparently, with a revised workflow featuring an App Hub UI "with a
concise five-step process."
Microsoft has also updated its Microsoft Advertising SDK for
Windows Phone 7, allowing ad-enabled mobile games that use XNA Framework.
Microsoft wants to build a robust app ecosystem to compete
with similar offerings from Apple and Google. In order to increase the Windows
Phone 7 platform's appeal, Microsoft now allows third-party developers to
create Windows Phone 7 apps using Visual Basic, having released its new Visual
Basic for Windows
Phone Developer Tools-RTW
"This release doubles the developer audience for Windows
Phone, by enabling Visual Basic developers to create applications for Windows
Phone, as well as C#," reads a Nov. 29 posting on Microsoft's Visual Basic Team
blog. Unlike September's Visual Basic CTP for Windows Phone Developer Tools,
"the RTW release provides -Go Live' support, which allows Visual Basic
developers to submit their applications to the Windows Phone Marketplace."
Microsoft also hopes that Windows Phone 7's unique user
interface, which aggregates Web content and applications into a series of
subject-specific Hubs, will attract consumers who would otherwise gravitate
toward a rival phone. Although Windows Phone 7 devices were released on the
U.S. market in early November, company executives have been reluctant to share
any early sales data.