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Microsoft Aims For Premium Mobile Apps

Developers are being told their mobile apps can be priced at more than 99 cents, which is the most-popular price in Apple's App Store.
As Microsoft prepares its App Store competitor, the company is telling developers not to worry about offering applications at premium pricing.

Apple's App Store has been wildly popular since its introduction about a year ago, and it has brought mobile apps to the forefront in the smartphone space. Free apps are by far the most-downloaded programs, and 99-cent apps are the most popular paid programs. This is causing problems for some developers because it can be difficult to recoup investment costs at such a low price point.

At its WinMoDevCamp, Microsoft is helping content creators tailor their programs for the upcoming Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system, as well as its over-the-air program store called Windows Marketplace for Mobile. The company is stressing that developers don't have to race to the bottom with prices to be successful.

"Your app can be worth $5.00 or $9.99, whatever the amount is, and you should be able to make more money with it," Microsoft's Loke Uei told developers, according to TechFlash. "In that way, we also promote higher-quality applications for a higher price -- a good price."

Rival Research In Motion also took a premium approach to its BlackBerry World; the minimum price for paid apps there is $2.99. RIM has not released download statistics for its virtual store, but it has yet to draw the same amount of interest from developers as the App Store. BlackBerry World now has more than 2,000 programs in its catalogue, compared to the more than 65,000 apps in Apple's program store.

Additionally, Apple is offering developers alternative business models with its 3.0 software because it enables in-app purchasing. This could potentially be used by publications to sell subscriptions on the iPhone, and game-makers could use this to sell new levels or features after the point of download.


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Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer