Microsoft fleshed out details for its Windows Store, announcing to developers that the Windows 8 app store will become available with the Windows 8 beta in late February 2012 as the software giant pledges to give developers a larger piece of the app dev pie.
At an event in San Francisco Dec. 6 dubbed the Store Preview, Microsoft officials said their new Windows Store represents a significant opportunity for developers as it is geared to help them be successful and make money on the platform. Indeed, Microsoft said Windows presents the largest single platform opportunity for developers, with 500 million Windows 7 licenses sold around the world to date.
Giving developers a larger piece of the pie, Microsoft said the revenue model for the new Windows 8 app store is such that successful apps earn 80 percent of every dollar generated after passing $25,000 in revenue. The first $25,000 is paid out at the industry standard 70 percent revenue share, Microsoft said. Moreover, the Windows Store will be global, enabling developers to sell their apps in any of 231 markets and in more than 100 languages.
Developers can start submitting apps for the Windows Store via the First Apps Contest to be considered for the store's opening and be featured in the Windows Store for Beta. More details on the contest can be found at buildwindowscontest.com. The registration fee for the store will be $49 for individuals and $99 for companies.
Microsoft in September at its BUILD conference announced the Windows Store as part of Windows 8 and the distribution point for its new Metro-style apps. At the Store Preview, the company described the app policies and business terms for the store.
In a blog post on the new store, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Antoine Leblond shared additional details about the developer opportunity coming on Windows 8 with the Windows Store.
"Combining the broad reach of Windows, a new developer platform, best-in-class developer tools, a reimagined user experience, support for new chipsets, and a built-in Store with industry-leading business terms-Windows 8 is the largest developer opportunity, ever," Leblond said.
Ted Dworkin, partner program manager for the Windows Store, said Microsoft established four guiding principles for the store and the company's partnership with developers: designed for discovery, flexible business models, transparent terms and best economics.
App discoverability and promotion are top priorities in the Windows Store with the benefits of app listing pages, trial periods and search with Bing and promotion through Internet Explorer, Microsoft said.
"We know people use the Web to find apps, so the Store app catalog will be indexed by search engines," Dworkin said. "We also support direct linking to app Web pages."
In addition, developers can promote apps from their Websites, not just with "available in the Windows Store" logos, but with built-in promotion through Internet Explorer 10, Dworkin said. "With just a line of markup, your Website promotes your app via the app button within the browser, visible to anyone running Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8," he said.
As Microsoft has to consider the enterprise, enterprise apps will be supported in the Windows Store. Said Dworkin:
""Apps listed in the Store are visible to all Windows 8 users, so enterprise apps can be offered in the Store, just like any other Metro style app. However, we also offer support for enterprises that want direct control over the deployment of Metro style apps. Enterprises can choose to limit access to the Windows Store catalog by their employees, or allow access but restrict certain apps. In addition, enterprises can choose to deploy Metro style apps directly to PCs, without going through the Store infrastructure. For Windows 8 Beta, IT administrators can use group policy to permit Metro style app installations, as long as the apps are signed by trusted publishers and the machines are joined to the domain. Then the IT admin can use powershell commandlets to manage those Metro-style apps on Windows 8.""
Microsoft also laid out its app certification process. The goals of the Windows Store app certification process are to ensure trusted, quality experiences for consumers and a simple, transparent process for developers through the App Certification Kit, Windows Developer Dashboard and the Windows Store App Certification requirements, found here.
"We want to increase predictability and eliminate any capriciousness in app certification," Dworkin said. "We do this by providing every developer with the technical certification assessments-the App Certification Kit -as part of the SDK. We also provide app acceptance guidance, in plain language, in our app certification policies. The App Certification Kit and the SDK are included when you download the Windows 8 Developer Preview."
Microsoft will give feedback to developers whose apps are rejected, so they can address the issues quickly and resubmit the app for publication, he added.