No excuses developers: Microsoft extends $19 registration fee for Windows Phone Dev Center indefinitely

Back when Windows Phone launched, developers had to fork over $99 a year for access to the Dev Center (then it was called App Hub).  However, at the beginning of this summer, Microsoft slashed the price to just $19, or as they aptly put it “the cost of a pizza”. That special offer was to expire yesterday, but Microsoft’s Todd Brix has taken to Twitter to announce that the price is staying for the near future (he actually announced it yesterday, but we missed it).

That’s good news for aspiring devs, especially those in emerging markets, who have trouble raising the $100 to join the Windows Phone developer club. Combined with the recently announced App Studio Beta for web based creations, Microsoft is clearly trying to woo new developers to the ecosystem in an aggressive way.

Will it have an impact? It certainly can’t hurt and we’d rather have some new, talented developers jump on board than not. Reducing barriers to entry is always a good thing, so we welcome this news. Remember, pass the information on to any developers you know who may be considering coding for Windows Phone.

Head to the Dev Center to get started:

Source: Twitter (@toddbrix); Thanks, Cristhian, for the heads up!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • cool glad to see microsoft try to entice devs by keeping the price low.
  • wow, I remember back when I paid clsoe to $80 for this....  no excuses now!!!!!
  • This makes perfect sense. At $19, people don't really have to think about it. Besides, the 30% cut they take of revenue ought to cover their expenses, and then some.
  • A little nit picking though. Where I live, I can get 4 pizza's (not including tax) for $20. So it's more of the price of a cheap party. :P
  • 4 Pizza's worth of investment could earn you 4 pizzas worth of cash a day.
  • Sweet jesus! I guess this means I'm gunna re-up. Yay
  • THERE! Apparently Microsoft does listen to me =P This $19 will most definitely incentive a lot more developers to join the platform...heck, it may even incentive big companies who weren't so keen on it (I'm assuming enterprises also have to pay for their developer accounts like indie ones). Now, all they need to do to help it even a lot more is remove the "Windows 8" requirement and allow Apps to be developed from Windows 7 too.
  • I don't think $100 putting off big developers from making an app for WP.
    It might be for indie developers but not for big developers.
  • Well, see it like this: if they don't want to develop for WP because it's a small platform, it's more likely that they WON'T do it if Microsoft is asking for $100 than if they just ask for $20. Does is make a huge difference in their budget? Not really. But they just have to pay to one person to develop the App (sure they can have a "team"...but I think it's clear that one person alone can develop the Apps and that an entire team isn't necessary). So, if they can spare $80 in the process...well, it does help.
  • Hey, pay $99 to a developer account, buy one W8 licence to all your dev computers(+300 per licence), buy at least one device to test(min $200 per device), Change all your OpenGL code to Direct3D. No, MS was not asking too much to big devs...
  • Is not that easy.. Win7 doesn't have support for the WinRT APIs.. To add support for store app microsoft would need to chhange windows 7 kernel for one like the windows 8 kernel.. 
  • But this is to develop for Windows Phone. NOT Windows 8/RT. So that's not even the problem. I would understand if they made this restriction regarding developing Apps for Windows 8. But not for Windows Phone.
  • ops... my mistake.. :/  it develop "from" not "to" lol... sorry... 
    now I agree with you... and I believe that for some companies this requirement is worst than the $100 fee 
  • The real reason for the requirement is that the emulator isn't really an emulator, it's a virtual machine that requires Hyper-V to run, which Windows 7 doesn't support.
  • Who cares Hyper-V? I just want an emulator to write WP8 apps using my Windows 7.
    I can't believe that Microsoft ignored Windows 7 for WP development. That is the reason why developers do not write WP apps.
  • Well the problem will hopefully diminish as more people upgrade from Windows 7 but you can still write apps for WinPhone 7.5, which will also work on Windows Phone 8, using Windows 7.
    I agree it's a strange decision to limit the developer base like this but hopfully it won't matter so much.
  • Actually, it matters a lot. Look at the market shares: 5.4 Windows 8 vs. 44.49 Windows 7 (
    It will take years for Windows 8 to catch!
  • Damn. Getting harder to resist now. When I'm done with my dissertation, I'll be all up in this ****.
  • They need curate the store even more from now on. I hope it wont become like Windows 8 store.
    Windows 8 store is full of crap.
  • The WP store is also filled with crap. But you don't have to download it. Now...the only way they could curate was if they used the star system to remove Apps. Example: if your App gets an average rating of 1 star, you're out. 2 stars you get a warning, etc. But that's really dificuld to implement 'cause many users just don't bother reviewing Apps at all...and you can't have 1 single review removing an App.
  • That would be horrible if implemented.
    The reviews for W8/WP8 are horribly broken anyway. You have people dropping 1 star reviews and leaving comments like  "I shouldn't have to pay for it" or "it would be better if it was free" on $.99 apps. And then you have people lowering their star rating after they have a bug and leaving support question in their review. Maybe that's an issue MS can fix by requiring devs to set up free support emails/forums (hosted by MS???) so at least it's not clogging up the reviews
    The simple fact that you can leave a review on an app even if you only downloaded the trial is kinda ridiculous. There should be an asterisk by those review or somthing.
  • You could use the stars as guidance and use a real person to determine if it should be removed. Hire a few people to look at the reviews and try the 1-2 star apps to determine if they warrant the ratings. If they do, either remove them or make it so they way in the back of any search query.
  • I hope, when I'll reach 18 years old in October it still will be at that price :o
  • I'm in! #build #wpdev
  • best of luck
  • A very welcomed change!
  • In what world is a pizza 19 dollars????
  • Obviously you're not a golfer.
  • It's probably an XXL pizza with all the toppings available. You know. Those no one ever buys =P
  • that's a big family pizza! but better than $99, MS is now begining to incentivate developers, better late that never...
  • Pretty standard price for a decent pizza (i.e. not Dominos or Pizza Hut) around these parts:
  • I have an excuse - no time. The $19 is very nice though and when I do find the time will hop right up on there.
  • It's a good start.  I have been trying hard to pay for the annual fee because my apps are all free and will be free.  It's really hard to justify paying MS for free apps, not to mention just to write my own apps for myself.  This copying Apple to the bone is just simply stupid.  Do the same as in the old windows so everyone is welcome.  Open the platform and you will see the platform thrives, like Android.
  • I hope it lasts until the end of October at least.
  • This is great, hopefully this brings overs the developers that might have missed the promo.
  • Yea I set an alarm to remind me but didn't have the cash to spend on it at the time, now I can continue my work knowing when I'm ready I'll only have to spend $20
  • I've been trying for 3 months now and what has got to be close to 50 back and forth emails with microsoft's billing team to figure out what is going on with my account (can't pay for anything and can't add any payment methods) - my developer account expires on sept 4 - beyond frustrated with MS right now.  Anyway, so I guess there are some excuses left :)
  • Damnit. I'm currently learning C# using MSDN so that I can move onto learning to develop WP apps so I just bought this yesterday while it was still cheap. If I had known they were going to extend the offer I could have held back from buying it until I was actually in a position to test & publish apps.
  • That is certainly awesome news for devs world wide.
  • This is great but i still have to buy Windows 8 Pro since they don't allow development on Windows 7. That and my laptop doesn't support SLAT for the emulator which means there is quite a pricey barrier for me as a recent Comp Sci grad to be developing for Windows Phone 8 :(
  • Is there any annual cost after this first-time $19 registration fee?
  • Sweetest , first thing i did after reading this article was to register. Was waiting for this , thanks MS
  • i am from indonesia. why i cannot pay for it. it cannot pay using paypal ??? please give me solution. thanks
  • Or if you go to a college that give you acess to a Microsoft Dreamspark account. you can be a WP dev for FREE! Thats what I did, but remember.! Your college NEEDS to have a partnership with Microsoft Dreamspark.
  • Todd Brix: This is is just awesome! I suggest these - Let Individual devs (not companies) join the program for free with a limited time to build and publish apps - say 30 days. If they publish an app in 30 days, continue their account for 12 months for free, otherwise cancel the account. (i know Dreamspark and BizSpark, but why? let everybody in)    Give 100% of first limited $$$ earning from apps to the dev, leave your share. 25% deduction is a big blow for an individual dev. This $$$ limit could be based on the complexity (depth and breadth of functions) of the app. My suggestion of the limits till which MS would not deduct their share: Simple apps - $1000, Moderately Complex - $5000, Fairly Complex- $10,000.  If an individual has committed to WP platform, reward and not penalize them by deducting more in the beginning and less later which is hard for most of the devs to reach to.   Some crazy devs have totally dedicated everything to build smart apps for WP, find and recognize them. They might not be socially active to become MVP, but  that doesnot make them any less valuable.  [WPCentral, SCAYT in Filtered HTML should be default option. Let your comment service know]
  • At $19 most devs will renew their license (read, 'not be claiming a refund when their subscription auto-renews') at the end of their first year. I suspect without the price drop the number of 'active' developers would be starting to drastically decline over the coming months.
    As time passes without *another* major windows phone rewrite customer numbers will start to increase ,which will in turn attract developer attention. Microsoft now need to focus on producing regular, impressive, and COMPATABLE upgrades to its OS. If their next is move is to decommission WP8 and declare WP9 as the 'game changer', then it really will kill off any future for windows phones, imo.
  • Interesting that I just tried to sign up and it tried to charge me 1500 baht (thats $50 not $19). Seems like it either USA only or a blatant lie.