Distributing and monetising Windows Mobile applications with Windows Mobile Marketplace (and some bad pictures)
Sorry for the poor picture quality - light inside the room was conspiring with my poor photography skills against good quality...
Loke Uei is responsible for creating and deploying technical resources and content to over 1,000 field evangelists within Microsoft on all Windows Mobile topics and technologies.
During this session Loke Uei gave us a first glimpse on the latest version of Windows Marketplace for Mobile, a new feature being introduced with Windows phones based on Windows Mobile 6.5, launching from early October, and being released soon after as a free download for existing Windows Mobile 6.0 and Windows Mobile 6.1 devices.
Loke Uei told the audience about the characteristics of a good on-line marketplace - the most important for developers is perhaps the discoverability. There are already thousands of Windows Mobile applications available for purchase through third party online stores, but all those require the user to be able to use the web from a PC, download an install file, tether their mobile device, transfer the file and install the application.
Windows Marketplace for Mobile cuts through this long process allowing users to find applications directly from their mobile devices, as well as managing download and install without having to get near a PC.
Another characteristic of a good on-line store is "confidence", and Loke Uei says users will have confidence when purchasing their mobile applications because of an automatic instant refund process. Refunding will be available up to 24 hours from when the application is purchased and users will have the right to return the purchase with no questions asked.
We had a live demo of the latest version of this marketplace for mobile - which Loke Uei says was only possible because he got the "Go ahead" minutes before the session started:
Things developers should know:
- Revenue sharing is always 70/30 for developers. Even if an operator enters the mix, Microsoft will pay the operator share from their 30%.
- It costs US$99 to enroll your first applications - up to five "slots". Upgrades are free. New apps after this will cost US$99 each.
- Changing an application from "free" to "paid" is not considered an upgrade.
- Microsoft has a set of guidelines - applications have to follow these. For example applications that replace core functionality will be rejected. Mapping/routing applications will be rejected. Some applications may not be available in all markets.
- The marketplace launches in 29 countries - including New Zealand.
- Developers are paid through EFT, currently currencies include US dollars, Japanese Yen, Euro, Australia dollars, British pounds.
- If an application is approved but later removed from the marketplace it will then be automatically removed from all mobile devices.
- The marketplace client software will show available updates and users can choose to install them when they want.
- Software can be reinstalled and activated up to five times - for example if you lose your mobile device or change devices.
- Developers are able to specify hardware requirements that will be checked before the software is purchased.
- Even if an application is rejected from the marketplace it is still possible for developers to sell it through other channels.
Overall a good session with lots of questions. At the end Loke Uei reminded the audience about the "Race to Market Challenge", a competition to find the #1 application in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile - with a Microsoft Surface table computer as first prize.
In common all these companies developed their solutions using Microsoft technologies, such as Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, IIS 7 and .Net. In a couple of cases the companies took advantage of Microsoft BizSpark, a program that provides software, support and visilibity to software startups.
Here are the companies:
CenterOS: this startup promises "no more flying blind" and basically they offer a purpose-built data centre management solution that gives IT administrators a graphical view of their assets - all through web browser clients. The solution also live monitoring of resources such as space, power, cooling and floor loading.
MarketPrice: these guys think auctions are an inneficient - at best - waste of time when it comes to listing and selling event tickets. The inneficiency comes from loading listings with repeated information and from time wasted waiting for an auction to run its course. To solve this they have created a marketplace for events where users will find ready-made pages dedicated to each individual event called markets. Tickets can be listed on those markets with as little as two clicks - prices are determined by the seller, and available tickets are listed in price order - cheaper will sell first!
Blade: "We move data". Blade is not a startup in the sense that they have been around for some time, but they will be soon launching BOB (Blade for Offsite Backup). This will allow backup in the cloud - you decide which service you store your data, BOB will do it. Currently Blade offers BladeTS, a large file transfer application that allows users to transfer huge amounts of data, securely and easily - after being installed on your server a web browser is all you need to use it to get all those gigabytes moving (I know, I use it!).
AG-Hub: the agriculture sector joins the Internet. AG-Hub collects data that can help farm management decision. They do so by creating a network of Zigbee sensors that gather data - GPS location, weather information, soil moisture - and upload this to their service where this is mashed up with stock rotations, crop contracts, fencing of streams, irrigations layouts to give farm administration a complete view of their business patterns and relationships. This will appeal to equity partners that are not always present at the farm to monitor the performance of their investment.
KernMobile: "solves the rigid mobility problem" by attacking the lack of visibility of current works and job status. They do this by replacing multiple data forms and dedicated data entry staff that can cause inventory management problems with a solution framework for organisations who have multiple field crew working across diverse work needs. This means mobility is the thing!
A proud supporter of this year’s conference, AvePoint helps organizations better manage and protect their SharePoint assets through its DocAve Software Platform, which delivers data protection, administration, migration, replication, reporting, and compliance solutions for all Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies.
I asked the company for more information and since 2001, AvePoint has supplied over 5000 businesses with comprehensive SharePoint backend management solutions, and continually works to improve its products and the SharePoint environment through its Microsoft Gold Partner certification and it extensive partner network.
The DocAve platform provides users with a unified browser-based interface to easily monitor their SharePoint deployments – its modules are sold in customizable packages based on the unique needs of clients’ SharePoint environments.
Be sure to visit AvePoint at Booth #18 to learn how to optimize, protect, and manage your SharePoint environment, and enter to win a mini-wine fridge filled with local New Zealand wines!
I am constantly uploading lots of pictures to our Tech.Ed New Zealand 2009 Flickr set. There's also a Tech.Ed NZ Flickr Group if you want to contribute.
Booth Babes. You might have heard of them from such conferences as E3 and Comic Con. The concept is simple: station attractive ladies at your expo booth, or wearing your brand, to garner the attention of slavering hordes of males who normally attend these conferences. The scantily-clad ladies reached a point that E3 chose to ban the practise a few years ago.
Well, you may be interested to know that Gen-i has decided to bring the booth babes to Microsoft Tech.Ed NZ 2009. These women below are wandering the conference floor today, replacing the pair that strolled around yesterday. Not wanting to be drawn into stereotyping, I asked the women yesterday if they were SQL experts or perhaps .NET developers. The response was "uh what?", and then they kindly informed me that Gen-i was providing complimentary beverages in their "smoothie lounge".
So here's the question: do you think it's appropriate to have promo girls at Tech.Ed? This is a largely tech conference. There is a small amount of consumer hardware in the Marketplace, but this conference is largely about software and infrastructure. Furthermore, Microsoft understands the low numbers of women involved in tech, and is reaching out to them through initiatives such as the Girl Geek Dinner.
Feel free to comment below. I'd love to hear what women attending Tech.Ed think about this. Or perhaps Gen-i employees - are you happy to be represented this way?