Microsoft primps Windows Phone Marketplace for November launch

Microsoft is contacting developers and requesting they submit Windows Phone 7 applications in advance of the launch of its Windows Phone Marketplace app storefront, scheduled to open sometime shortly after the first WP7 smartphones hit retail in early November. Writing on The Windows Phone Developer Blog, Microsoft's senior director of mobile services and developer product management Todd Brix states that the software giant reached out to all registered developers on Oct. 4 to request they submit applications for Marketplace certification. The deadline to respond to the early submission invitation is Oct. 6, with Microsoft promising guidance and sneak-preview access to its new app submission and certification processes to the first few thousand developers who sign up.

On Oct. 11, Microsoft will provide participating developers with instructions on submitting their apps for Marketplace publication in the days leading up to and after launch. From Oct. 12 through November, Microsoft will continue processing submissions and prioritizing new requests in the order they are received until the self-serve submission process is widely enabled. Microsoft plans to make Windows Phone Marketplace available to all developers sometime next month, Brix adds, noting that test and near-final apps and games are already showing up on pre-production devices.

"Shortly after new Windows Phones become broadly available, Marketplace will begin providing developers with individual insights on their app's performance within Marketplace," Brix writes. "The reporting will soon become more automated and self service. We're also still working toward a beta distribution solution to allow developers to privately distribute their apps for testing through Marketplace. This solution will not be in place for the launch of Windows Phone 7, but it is a feature on our roadmap. And perhaps most importantly, developers can expect the first payout of sales to date to take place in February."

Microsoft will formally introduce Windows Phone 7 on Oct. 11, roughly eight months after first announcing the new platform. Citing sources familiar with the plans, The Wall Street Journal reported last week that AT&T (NYSE:T) will initially serve as Microsoft's exclusive Windows Phone 7 operator partner in the U.S., and on Nov. 8 will introduce three WP7 smartphones, one each manufactured by Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and HTC.

For more on the Windows Phone Marketplace rollout:
- read this Windows Phone Developer Blog entry

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