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Microsoft gives devs the skinny on how Windows Store will work

by David Needle

July 20 2012

An example of an app for sale in the Microsoft Store
An example of an app for sale in the Microsoft Store

Microsoft is gearing up for the release of Windows 8 and with it, a full-featured Windows Store of apps.

In a new blog post, the software giant detailed how the Windows Store works and what the options are for developers. Since Windows 8 is currently only available in a Preview version, all the apps currently in the app store are free to download. 

Once Windows 8 gets to the “Release to Manufacturing” phase, developers will be able to charge for apps. The RTM will be followed quickly by public availability of the final version of Windows 8 which Microsoft has said is set for October 26.

Like Apple’s App Store, Microsoft has established price tiers for apps in the Windows Store. The price tiers range from $1.49 to $999.99, though Microsoft hasn’t yet established the higher-priced tiers.

For now it’s $1.49 in U.S. currency, rising in increments of $0.50 to $4.99. In a blog post, Arik Cohen, Lead Program Manager for Microsoft’s Commerce and Licensing team, said that higher price tiers will be available. Pricing will also be adjusted to equivalent rates in other countries. 

Also like Apple, Microsoft charges publishers 30% of the app price for using the store and to cover transaction costs. But if your your app reaches $25,000 or equivalent of lifetime sales (aggregated across app sales and in-app purchases) Microsoft's cut drops to 20% of the app price.

Microsoft lists six ways developers will be able to make money selling apps at the Windows Store: 

  • Collect full price before download
  • Time-limited trial
  • Feature-limited trial
  • In-app purchases
  • Advertising
  • Third-party transactions

The Windows Store will also offer devs analytics features that include:

  • Analytics that show the conversion process
  • A single code base that targets both trial and full paying customers. This enables customers to seamlessly transition from the trial to the full version, with no need to reenter data, migrate settings or get used to a different app.
  • System functionality that stops the trial from being launched after the trial expires
  • Access to a set of APIs that allow for prompting for customers purchasing the full version of the app

As a new player, Windows Store has a huge amount of catching up to do with Apple’s App Store and Google Play. but Cohen is bullish on the potential. 

“With more than 630 million licenses sold to date, across 200+ countries and regions around the world, Windows has an unrivaled global reach,” he said. “Combined with the flexibility of monetization options that the Store provides, Windows 8 represents the single biggest developer opportunity for any platform.”

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