Microsoft opens Windows Mobile Marketplace applications submissions & Race to Market contest

As promised earlier this month, developers from 29 countries can now submit their applications to the Windows Mobile Marketplace. the whole certification process should take around 10 days and developers can follow this process through the Developer Dashboard.

Today represents another significant milestone for Windows Marketplace for Mobile, and more importantly, the first big opportunity for developers. We are now accepting application submissions from all 29 supported countries and have launched a Race to Market Challenge to kick things off. It’s time to show us what you’ve got!

Registered developers and ISVs can now upload their application, game or widget to the Windows Marketplace platform and we’ll begin certifying those apps according to the process, policies and guidelines we’ve published. We certify apps on a First In, First Out (FIFO) basis. Certification should normally take about 10 business days initially and you can always check on your application during the process through our Developer Dashboard. To better market your app, you can provide us with all the product information and promotional materials you’d like us to use to describe and showcase your application for the more than 30 million Windows Mobile devices out there.

If we go through the certification process and your application doesn’t pass one or more of the tests or checks, we’ll give you a detailed report explaining which test and why. All of the tests and checks we run align with the tools and criteria we’ve shared, so there shouldn’t be too many surprises. The steps we take to help ensure that an application meets reasonable expectations for quality, usability and localization creates a high standard for the marketplace, a consistent experience for shoppers and ultimately increased exposure and repeat business for all involved.

Our strategy for all of this is pretty straightforward; we want to create a global marketplace for Windows Phones where developers and users meet to sell and buy high quality and high value applications that make work easier and life more fulfilling. We’re creating a clear process and new opportunity for developers and ISVs to make money from their investment in innovation. The applications we feature will be well organized, easily accessible by PC or phone and backed by a money back guarantee. And when they’re ready to buy, customers will have a variety of payment options to choose from. These are new customer experiences, and frankly, capabilities that will set us apart.

But it all starts today with the applications, and as I mentioned earlier we’re kicking this process off with a little contest we’re calling the Race to Market Challenge.

The Race to Market Challenge is just another reason for developers to get in on the ground floor of the new Windows Marketplace. While we do sincerely believe that everyone who submits an app will benefit from being among the first available when Windows Marketplace opens for business, we’re offering a few other prizes as well.

Race to Market Challenge

Prizes; 4 Microsoft Surface tables (Developer Edition), online marketing & promotion of your app and challenge trophies for the mantle.

Applications will be judged on:
Most downloads of a free app
Most valuable app (downloads x price)
Most useful (as judged by Microsoft panel)
Most playful (as judged by Microsoft panel)
Contest runs from launch to Dec 31, 2009.
Details will be available at today.

Finally, I’d like to thank the Windows Marketplace beta tester community for its patience and feedback, as well as all of you who have already taken the time to register your company with us (see comments from beta tester Eduify and Ilium). We’ve learned a lot and can’t wait to get more of your ideas and feedback to help us make the experience better for everyone.

If Juniper research is right and we can expect to see 20 billion applications downloaded annually in the years ahead, the mobile app market is in its infancy and consumers will soon demand more consistent and intuitive shopping experiences than exists today. We’re going to meet that demand.

Join us!

Head over here for more info.

The Race to Market challenge site can be found here

The Windows Mobile team has also updated the applications guidelines here (pdf)

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