Windows 8: No 99 Cent Apps For You

Cheapest Windows 8 apps will be 50% more expensive than least costly Apple apps, Microsoft reveals.
Microsoft Surface Tablet: 10 Coolest Features
Microsoft Surface Tablet: 10 Coolest Features
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Microsoft has released pricing details for apps that can be purchased from its online Windows Store once Windows 8 goes live--and bargain hunters might be disappointed.

Unlike Apple, which allows developers to charge as little as 99 cents for an app, Microsoft has set the minimum price for Windows 8 apps at $1.49.

"You, as the developer, are always in control of the pricing of your app," said Arik Cohen, lead program manager for Microsoft's commerce and licensing team, in a weekend blog post.

That's only partly true. Developers can choose a price tier for their app, but it's restricted to between $1.49 and $999.99. That range matches Apple's app pricing on the high end, but it's 50 cents more expensive on the low end compared to the minimum price for iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch apps.

That might not seem like a lot, but given the propensity of some mobile users to download hundreds of apps, it could add up. It also sets up a scenario where the Windows 8 version of an app could be 50% more expensive than its iOS-based counterpart. Cohen did not provide an explanation for Microsoft's pricing structure.

[ Considering a Windows 8 ARM tablet? Here's what you need to know now: Windows 8 ARM Tablets: 8 Must-Know Facts. ]

Users running trial versions of Windows 8 on tablets or PCs can currently download and use all apps on the Windows Store for free. That will start to change, however, once Windows 8 is released to manufacturing next month.

"At Windows 8 RTM ... all developers signing up for a company account and living in one of the supported countries will be able to publish and offer paid apps," said Cohen.

Microsoft has said that the Windows Store will be the sole source of apps for tablets running Windows 8 RT, a version of the OS that runs on ARM-based processors built by Qualcomm, Motorola, or Nvidia.

Users of PCs or tablets that run x86 chips will be able to download Windows Store apps and also install traditional applications from other sources.

Windows 8 systems and upgrade packages will be available to the general public starting Oct. 26, Microsoft announced last week. Consumers who purchase a Windows 7 PC between now and Jan. 31 can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $15. Users of Windows XP, Windows 7, or Windows Vista will be able to purchase and download Windows 8 Pro for $39.99.