Microsoft copies Apple with Windows Phone app lock-in?

I’m reading the documentation for Windows Phone development. Here’s what it says:

A set of tools will help the developer to submit and certify their applications for the Windows Phone Marketplace. Applications are submitted in a .XAP file format, which is essentially one compressed file that contains all the files that are needed by the application. Developers can track their submission status and then receive a notification once the certification is complete. After an application is certified, it can then be submitted for publishing on the Windows Phone Marketplace. Developers can set pricing and select the markets in which they wish to publish the application.

Application updates can go through the certification and publishing process again in order to fix bugs, add new functionality, or provide whole new versions.

Windows Phone Marketplace and Billing

The Windows Phone Marketplace provides the one place where developers can make their applications available for purchase by consumers. Both Mobile Operator and credit card billing are supported, making it as easy as possible for consumers to pay for the program.

Note the lock-in words: apps must be certified by Microsoft, and the Windows Phone Marketplace is the “one place” to make applications available for purchase. According to Microsoft’s Charlie Kindel, Microsoft will take 30% of all revenue, and in most cases there is also a fee for registering as a Marketplace vendor.

I understand Microsoft’s Apple-envy; but it is disappointing to find that this new platform is equally locked, if I’m reading this correctly.

3 thoughts on “Microsoft copies Apple with Windows Phone app lock-in?”

  1. Tim, I don’t understand the apps must be certified to be placed on Windows Phone Marketplace?
    Can independent developer make an app and put it on his own web site, so customers can simply download and use it without visiting Windows Phone Marketplace?
    Must be the app is certified in this case?
    Can we use native code (C++) for such app?
    I have heard that native code will be possible to use only for OEM vendors/publishers.

  2. Roman

    Answers to your questions:

    app on your web site – no
    certified in this case – n/a
    native code (C+) – no

    OEMs will have access for drivers at least.


  3. Of course you can see where this is going. They’re making a phone targeted at consumers, not only do they get a slice of the pie, but you do as Apple have done, make the device almost completely immune to viruses. There are viruses out there that will target jail-broken iPhones, and to a lesser extent WM devices. By limiting what can run, you remove the ability for one software maker to ruin a user’s experience.

    Of course it’s not without a cost. But it’s fairly clear that Microsoft has decided not to take on Apple by doing ‘some’ things better. They’ve decided to do ‘everything’ better, even if it means doing some things ‘worse’ than WM6.5 and Android. (Because they’re mutually exclusive choices).

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