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Metro apps to be sold only from Microsoft's app store

Company reveals 70%-30% revenue split with developers, then scratches info from online doc

September 19, 2011 06:01 AM ET

Computerworld - Metro apps for Windows 8 will be available only through Microsoft's own store, the company said at its BUILD Windows conference last week.

But although Microsoft went to pains to say that it would not discuss the business end of the app store -- including what percentage the company will return to developers -- a primer of the download market published by Microsoft said that it, like Apple, will take a 30% cut of all sales.

Last week, Microsoft confirmed that the Windows Store -- the official name for what executives have referred to as "our Windows app store" -- will be the sole distribution channel for Metro apps, those that run in the Metro interface in Windows 8 on Intel-powered devices, and the only ones that will be permitted on ARM-based Windows 8 tablets.

Microsoft is restricting Metro app distribution to ensure the software is secure and appropriate, said Ted Dworkin, a Microsoft director who leads the Windows Store development team, in a BUILD session Wednesday.

"We will be the only store for distribution of Metro-style apps," said Dworkin.

That means Microsoft will follow Apple's model, not Google's. The former limits distribution of iOS apps to the App Store; although Google operates the Android Market, apps can be acquired elsewhere.

Dworkin also told developers that Microsoft will vet each submission and ensure that Metro apps are malware-free. "We will examine every application that will be submitted to us [and] we will run a virus check and a malware check on every application," Dworkin said.

Those scans also separate Microsoft's upcoming store from Google's Android Market, which this year has had to yank dozens of apps that contained attack code.

But even as Dworkin talked up the Windows Store, he declined to disclose Microsoft's business model. "We are not going to spend time [today] on the specific store policies and the specific business terms," said Dworkin on Wednesday. "We will describe them in great concrete detail [later]. At the point when we're ready for [app] submission, that's the point at which you will understand what the specific store policies and business terms are."

However, Microsoft did briefly reveal information about the business model in an online document.

"Following industry norms, developers pay a nominal yearly fee to upload apps to the Store, and receive 70% of the gross income from those apps (for paid apps and in-app purchases that use the default commerce engine)," said the "Primer for current Windows developers."

That primer, which was first noted by Windows blogger Long Zheng on his istartedsomething website, was quickly revised to strip out the references to revenue sharing.

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