The market for mobile apps is hot. Microsoft just revealed a new strategy for encouraging development of Windows Mobile applications, where they will pay 70 percent of sales to developers that will be sold on the Windows Marketplace for Mobile. Microsoft's mobile app marketplace will compete strongly with both Apple's App Store, and RIM's new application store for the BlackBerry. It's obvious Microsoft has both Apple and RIM in its crosshairs, and has come up with strategies that specifically target the weaknesses of each.
Developers pay $99 for a year's license to develop and sell up to five applications on the online marketplace, a hundred less than RIM's $200 fee. Developers set their own prices, and unlike Apple's and RIM's stores, there does not seem to be a pricing guideline. Apps selling in the Apple marketplace go for 99 cents; RIM's apps vary based on a company-set guideline starting at $2.99.
Microsoft is aggressively courting developers, hoping for a big splash when the marketplace goes live. Developers will be allowed to see feedback about the process for certifying their applications, both during and after the certification process. This transparency contrasts with what some see as Apple's convoluted process for approval. Developers will also be able to get "guidance and support" from development to final sale, according to the press release issued today by Microsoft.