Microsoft Courts Developers With Mobile App Strategy
Microsoft's Windows Mobile has revealed its strategy to motivate mobile application developers to write applications on the Windows Mobile platform.

Those interested in building and distributing mobile applications through the newly announced Windows Marketplace for Mobile (not yet created), can submit their proposals to Microsoft for inclusion later in 2008. The program will launch in 29 countries and represents Microsoft's counter-offer to Apple's renowned mobile application development process.

A Familiar Sounding Program

The Apple iPhone and its associated App Store inside iTunes has set a model for how to distribute mobile applications. Recent figures show that few mobile phone users actually seek out and install additional applications onto their mobile handsets. However, with the App Store, iPhone users have an easy way to add applications to their iPhones.

As a result, other mobile platforms such as Microsoft's Windows Mobile, BlackBerry and Nokia Symbian are trying to play catch up.

The parallels between Microsoft's application development program and Apple's cannot be ignored. To start, Microsoft will charge developers US$ 99 per year, allowing them to submit up to 5 applications to be included in the Windows Mobile app store. Additional application submissions will cost US$ 99 each. The fee is waived for student developers involved in Microsoft's DreamSpark program.

Microsoft says that like Apple, it will take a 30% commission on all applications sold through the Windows Marketplace for Mobile.

Microsoft's Windows Mobile Marketplace will require that target handsets run Windows Mobile 6.5, which has yet to be released. However an additional SDK is not required and it has been noted that Microsoft will release a Windows 6.5 emulator for application developers to test and evaluate their mobile applications upon.

A Familiar Programming Environment

In addition, developers who want to build apps upon Windows Mobile won't need to learn any new programing languages. The Redmond-based software giant notes that applications can be written in Win32, Active Template Library and the Microsoft Foundation classes including C++, Visual C#, Visual Basic.Net and others.

According to Daniel Bouie, senior planner for Microsoft's Windows Marketplace for Mobile, Microsoft has been criticized for not reaching out to mobile application developers. The question remains: how will these mobile application developers embrace the new Marketplace model?

Do you plan to build and deploy Windows Mobile applications and if so, what are your impressions of the proposed new Marketplace? We look forward to seeing the comments!