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Originally published December 6, 2011 at 8:29 PM | Page modified December 7, 2011 at 12:46 AM

Microsoft Windows 8 app store due in February

The store is a move toward a complete ecosystem for the Windows platform, much as Apple provides for its mobile devices and, more recently, for its Macs running on the OSX operating system.

Seattle Times technology reporter

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Microsoft unveiled a major part of its effort to compete in mobile computing, releasing details Tuesday of its planned Windows 8 app store at an event in San Francisco.

The store is to launch with the expected late February release of a test version of Windows 8, Microsoft's next major operating system.

For developers, individual registration fees for an app are $49, and $99 for companies.

One major feature of the store is the revenue-sharing model Microsoft plans to use to get app developers to build on Microsoft's platform.

Under the model, Microsoft would take 30 percent of the revenue an app makes — the same amount Apple gets in its highly successful App Store.

But there's a twist in Microsoft's model. After an app tallies $25,000 in total sales, Microsoft's share will drop to 20 percent.

Though the store won't launch until February, developers are being encouraged to submit apps to a contest https://buildwindowscontest.com and be one of eight winning apps picked to be first featured when the Windows store opens.

The store is a move toward a complete ecosystem for the Windows platform, much as Apple provides for its mobile devices and, more recently, for its Macs running on the OSX operating system.

Google also is a leading rival with the store for its Android platform.

Microsoft already has an app store for its Windows Phone, but not one for third-party Windows OS apps. The only way now to purchase such apps is through the developer or a third-party provider.

These days, though, the app-store model "is becoming something users expect," said Rob Sanfilippo of independent analysis firm Directions on Microsoft, based in Kirkland.

"I think it is a big part of the Windows 8 launch and it will be an important feature within that operating system that could differentiate it and could help it compete against tablet offerings today," Sanfilippo said.

The potential for the Windows 8 app store is huge, given the number of developers writing apps for Windows and the number of Windows consumers worldwide, he said.

Among other features Microsoft discussed Tuesday:

• The store catalog will be indexed by search engines, meaning it will appear in search results.

• Use of the store can be tailored for businesses, allowing them to list their own apps and control access to them.

• Developers will be able to offer trials of an app, which could then be converted to paid status.

• Third parties would be allowed to handle app transactions.

Janet I. Tu: 206-464-2272 or jtu@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @janettu.

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