Microsoft has published the developer timeline for Windows Phone 7 and it looks about as complete as Delhi’s attempt at the Commonwealth Games. And even more worrying is that Microsoft don’t expect to be able to make a payment for sales of apps until February 2011.
On the official Microsoft Windows 7 Phone developer blog Todd Brix the Senior Director for Mobile Platform Services Product Management at Microsoft says, “The level of excitement and anticipation for Windows Phone 7 is mounting by the day.” Well he would, wouldn’t he? And it looks like there’s going to be quite a big splash on day one – Oct 11. Brix says Microsoft have personally trained 20,000 + developers at hundreds of events and delivered more than 130,000 hours of training over the Web. However the rest of the post starts to take a less optimistic line and there are some worrying ifs and buts.
From what we can see there’s going to be quite an extended beta launch, and developers are just going to have to grin and bear it until the service kicks off fully. The biggest sacrifice for developers however appears to be payments. Brix says, “And perhaps most importantly, developers can expect the first payout of sales to date to take place in February.” Yes February.
Additionally while Microsoft expect to make the Windows Phone Marketplace fully available to all developers in November, it seems that things as essential as analytics won’t be available until much later. Which isn’t going to please any advertisers who have sponsored apps and want to know what their money is getting them. Microsoft only intends to offer individual insights on their app’s performance within Marketplace initially followed by a more automated service “soon”.
Brix also says that Microsoft have been “given a fresh start with Windows Phone 7” and they’re going to use this as a way to “double down on quality”, worryingly adding “Some measure app store success by the tens of thousands. We have taken on a different challenge; to win each customer and developer one at a time.”
Because they have so many developers signed up for WP7 they anticipate lots of potential apps, and a few problems in the early days. Microsoft have put in to place a developer timeline to get the admissions process moving as fast as possible for launch as Brix says “We’re starting something new here and we want to give developers a great experience, even if we have to iron out a few kinks behind the scenes along the way.”
Microsoft are currently accepting application submissions from first mover developers who already have their apps completed, they will then incrementally expand the number of apps they accept and certify, with the aim of creating a “full self-serve Marketplace application submission” in the future.
The timeline for WP7 developers looks like this:
- Oct 4: All registered developers have been contacted and invited to request early submission to the Marketplace certification process.
- Oct 6: Deadline for registered developers to respond to the invitation to participate in early submission. Of those that request access, an initial group of a couple of thousand developers will be accepted on a first come, first served basis to receive guidance and early access to the new application submission and certification process.
- Oct 11: Participating early certification developers will receive instructions on submitting their xaps (WP7 pre-launch versions), allowing those apps to be published in Marketplace in the lead up to, and after, launch.
- Oct 12–November: Microsoft will continue processing submissions and prioritizing new requests in the order they are received until the self-serve submission process is broadly enabled.