Microsoft on Tuesday began wooing developers for a February opening of its first “app store” for computers powered by the US technology giant’s Windows software.
The Windows Store will open in late February next year when Microsoft releases a test version of its next-generation Windows 8 operating system.
It will take on Apple and Google in the booming market of fun, hip or functional programs built for smartphones, tablets or computers.
“I think we are going to do great,” Windows Web Services vice president Antoine Leblond said as he gave developers and press a preview of the store in a San Francisco art gallery.
“The reach of Windows is absolutely huge and can’t be matched,” he continued, noting that the Microsoft operating system powers more than a half a billion computers around the world.
Applications written for the Windows Store platform will work on any devices powered by the Microsoft software, meaning programs could be downloaded to smartphones or tablet computers as they hit market.
Windows Store was pitched as a welcoming option to Apple App Store, which puts applications through a strict and sometimes enigmatic vetting processes before approving them for virtual shelves.
“Today, one of the most frustrating things for building apps are the constraints on way you can do and what you can sell,” Leblond said.
Apple requires applications for iOS devices to conduct financial transactions such as subscriptions or sales in-house, with the iPhone, iPad, iPod and Macintosh computer maker taking 30 percent of the revenue.
Windows Store platform will have mechanisms for in-app purchases, but developers will be free to choose methods of handling financial transactions, the Microsoft executive said.
“Developers create apps to put in Apple’s App Store only to have Apple stand between them and the customer while taking 30 percent,” Leblond added.
“We won’t get in the way of your app and your business model,” Leblond said.
Windows Store will let developers set their own prices for applications in a range from US$1.49 to US$999.99 “because a thousand bucks is just too much for an app,” he added.
The virtual shop will also support free applications that make their money from advertising.
Microsoft will take 30 percent of the revenue from application sales. After an application’s sales reach US$25,000, the developers’ share climbs to 80 percent. Developers get to keep all the money from in-application transactions.