Honeymoon for developers and Windows Marketplace for Mobile may be over

By on March 25, 2009 at 7:39 AM.

Honeymoon for developers and Windows Marketplace for Mobile may be over

Among the flurry of on-device application distribution channels currently in the works, Windows Marketplace for Mobile may be among those that will struggle for quality content once reaching market. Could this be a product of Windows Mobile’s relatively small market share or lack of developer interest? Most certainly not; any Windows Mobile user will tell you about the huge abundance of great WinMo apps out there. Microsoft, maker of Windows — the world’s most widely embraced platform as far as third-party development is concerned — has apparently decided its bottom line is more important than playing nice with mobile platform developers. Pulling what could be a page from the Handango playbook, the company has incorporated a series of questionable policies that seem to highlight Microsoft’s interest in dollars and cents far outranking its interest in encouraging the very developers it hopes will populate its mobile money maker.

In a nutshell, developers get five free submissions to the Marketplace each year while subsequent submissions will run $99 a pop. A nice seemingly nice gesture, until you get to the part where each and every revision of an app will count as a new submission! In other words, new versions of an app will not only count towards a dev’s five free passes but each new version will cost the developer $99 to submit. Crazy. Rather than worry about immediately recouping internal app review costs, perhaps Microsoft should consider encouraging revisions — or, you know, encouraging developers to make their apps better and add features that could potentially improve sales.

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Microsoft looking to the cloud with Windows Mobile 6.5?

By on January 19, 2009 at 12:00 PM.

Microsoft looking to the cloud with Windows Mobile 6.5?

Ok Windows Mobile fans, it looks like you might actually see something new emerge from the fray at Mobile World Congress next month worth getting excited about. According to neowin’s “sources close to Microsoft”, Redmond is planning to take the wraps off a trio of cloud-based offerings set to compete with the likes of MobileMe and the App Store. Coming alongside Windows Mobile 6.5, which Microsoft is also expected to unveil at MWC, apparently Microsoft’s new mobile solutions will provide more all-inclusive offerings compared to its current PIM-centric Exchange services and app-hunting options. Reportedly codenamed SkyBox, Skyline and SkyMarket, details of the services are as follows:

SkyBox – Remote mobile syncing of contacts, Email/SMS, calendar items and images along with automatic backup and restore services (oh yes, the carriers are going to love OTA backup and restore functions).

SkyLine – Similar to SkyBox but tweaked for enterprise. Includes Exchange integration and custom domains.

SkyMarket – A mobile marketplace to compete with the likes of the App Store.

We don’t doubt that each of these services are on the way but we also sincerely hope Microsoft has a few tricks up its sleeve for MWC. Constant complaints of the company’s mobile OS being behind the times aren’t going to be eliminated with a simple game of catch up – Redmond needs to mix in some solid innovation with services like these in order to gain acclaim and garner interest once again. Come on Ballmer & Co… Show us something sexy.

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Microsoft Cooking up an App Store of its Own; Skymarket for Windows Mobile

By on September 1, 2008 at 10:59 AM.

Microsoft Cooking up an App Store of its Own; Skymarket for Windows Mobile

Not that we fault them, but it looks like it didn’t take Microsoft long to look over Apple’s App Store conquest and realize it’s not such a bad idea after all. Google has no problems with mimicking Apple’s format so why should Microsoft? In fact, though Apple hardly invented the repository model we wish all handsets made use of it as well as the iPhone does. Maybe Symbian will be next in line with a sorely needed overhaul to its Download! offering. In any event, with Windows Mobile 7 will come the Microsoft Skymarket – an on-device marketplace where users can browse,  purchase and download applications and games over the air. It should be interesting to see how Skymarket will source its content. After all, there are already around 20,000 applications available for Windows Mobile devices and it would be quite a chore to pipe them all through Skymarket at launch. Perhaps a selection process a la Nokia Software Market will come into play where Nokia decides which Symbian applications are “worthy” in an effort to weed out the junk. It doesn’t always work but there is no question it helps. Just compare Nokia’s sales portal to the video ringtone / flash animation-infested pages of Handango’s S60 section and see for yourself. But we digress. In the end, the repository model means easier access for users, more revenue for developers and less cake for Handango. We can’t say any of those are bad things. Hopefully Microsoft will take this opportunity to learn from Apple’s offering and iron out the kinks a bit to put together a better product as opposed to a straight copy. First and foremost, we have two words for you Microsoft: Trial versions.

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