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Microsoft increases revenue share for Windows app developers

During the first day of its Build 2018 developer conference, Microsoft mostly honed in on AI and new tools to woo developers. But outside of all of the new tech goodies, the company is also trying something a little more basic: more money.

The tech giant announced today a new revenue-sharing split for Microsoft Store developers. Later this year, all consumer apps, excluding games, will provide 95 percent of the revenue from the app and in-app purchases to the developer. The new fee structure is applicable for purchases on Windows 10 PCs, Windows Mixed Reality, Windows phone, and Surface Hub. Notably, this excludes purchases on Xbox.

Where things get slightly more complicated is that the share varies depending on how people get to your app. The 95 percent figure is earned if a customer uses a deep link to get to and purchase an app. If Microsoft directs a customer yo your app, whether through a collection on the Microsoft Store or via "any other owned Microsoft properties," then developers will receive 85 percent of the revenue instead.

Still, even with 85 percent at the low end, the new fee structure is a win for developers on the Microsoft Store. As for whether it will entice more developers to build apps for the Store is another thing altogether.

The new fee structure, Microsoft says, will be available later in 2018. Developers will be prompted to accept a new version of the App Developer Agreement when it is available.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

55 Comments
  • so desperate they are..
  • Yep, after overtaking Amazon's AWS with Azure, and becoming the number 2 most valuable company, MS is getting desperate. I can feel the anxiety
  • Lol good one.
  • Overtaking AWS? Is this new? MS has a bigger cloud business but Azure alone is still far behind AWS at least it was last autumn.
  • Desparate in terms of UWP and MS Store. This move doesn't say anything about and has nothing to do with their other businesses that you mention
  • If you were a developer you would know how dead this platform is
  • In what reality? you pathetic fanboy reality?
  • Yeah, Microsoft is 7th, it's actually down from 5th last year.
  • Haha they really can't win can they. Over and over people say they don't care about windows or uwp, then they do something to try and get more developers writing uwp apps and they are desperate...
  • Desperate or not, this is a great move. I'm all for MS bashing when appropriate, but portraying this as something negative is just dishonest: "Oh no! MS is no longer as tyrannical as Apple and Google and has decided not to milk developers. The audacity! ". 95% is a fair split, where the typical 30% split is online-robbery.
  • Too little, too late? Being optimistic but realistic here
  • I doubt this is going to be the difference between whether a developer bothers or not, at least not in that simplistic or instant of a way. Maybe something like it makes those who have already been doing some happier and more likely to spread good word-of-mouth. But it's still always a good move to keep developers on your side. Microsoft doesn't need to make a profit off of apps.
  • You're right - it's not going to change much. 85% or 99% is still nothing if nobody is downloading your app because no one uses the store
  • Does this mean we will be getting more decent apps on windows 10 ?
  • No. Devs who are already dedicated to the Windows store will continue to make good apps as always. But, lazy devs looking to make a quick buck will just upload their web wrappers and copycat games and will earn all of the 94¢ of the 99¢ selling price.
  • What devs are dedicated? :)))) Twitter? with that pathetic PWA? WOW, incredible dedication.
  • The Dev of Penbook has been doing UWP apps for a while, so has FinebitsOU. These are the kinds of "dedicated developers" I'm talking about. Not faceless corporations who are more preoccupied with maintaining their social media service and who most likely outsource app development.
  • Wish they had tried this strat when they first introduced Windows Phone back in the day. At the very least when W10M had come out... Regardless hopefully this is their strat to get things ramped up for an eventual release of an "Andromeda" device.
  • Thats what I was thinking when I read this arcticle. Too bad they never did this when they released windows phone/mobile. Even if they did it when they launched w10m they would be in a much better position. I said give 100 percent of royalties to the dev's for a year, So, this is close...but it's too late.
  • Step one in bringing back Windows phone? We can only hope!
  • I hope so but probably not. Every day I use Android makes me miss the reliability of W10m.
  • I hate android with passion. It's a steaming pile of garbage.
  • Its better than windows 10 mobile.
  • Yeah, good luck with that. 95% of nothing is still nothing.
  • I recently purchased touchmail/cover (add on) ☺
    I'm sure the develops would disagree with you
  • It's a ship long gone. They should let the dev keeps 100% of the revenue for the first year at least, and do this back in the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 days. And Microsoft doesn't even need this kind of revenue, for heck's sake...
  • Of course they do need it..1 cent from here, one from there and up goes the stock price. Then the fanboys here can come and bark how successful MS is because their stock price is high.
  • Why though? Developers must follow where the customers are. And consumer-focused customers are on their phones, they're on their iPad Pros, on Alexa, on their Chromebooks, and on web-sites. There may be a FEW outliers, who might build apps directly for "prosumers" - like PhotoShop or perhaps AutoCad. And gaming will continue to thrive for a while. And even then, I think those devs will target Steam, not the store. Windows as a Consumer device may be officially dead at BUILD 2018. My hope now is that Google releases a Chromebook capable of running Android Studio, and that they come out with some sort of game streaming service, and just puts MS out of its misery.
  • "Why though? Developers must follow where the customers are. And consumer-focused customers are on their phones, they're on their iPad Pros, on Alexa, on their Chromebooks, and on web-sites." Yeah, 1.4 billion Windows users around the world means there are no consumers on Windows. Windows dwarfs Chromebooks. "My hope now is that Google releases a Chromebook capable of running Android Studio, and that they come out with some sort of game streaming service, and just puts MS out of its misery." You're an idiot. Your post is laughable. Chromebooks are still crap. The fact that you think a game streaming service on Chromebooks will replace Steam or Microsoft shows what a laughable clown you are.
  • Look money talks. If these 700 million devices were so bloody important then why can’t you find one bloody bank, credit card company, airline UWP app on the store? Where is Starbucks, Mint, Voxer, Snapchat, Pokémon go for crying out loud? Devs follow paying customers. And while I agree that chrome books are crap now, except for maybe in the classroom where they get the job done quite well, should google release a version of Android Studio, even a cloud
    based one, that runs on a Chromebook, then i guarantee you every kid in America’s going to grow up learning how to code AND do their word processing on a chromebook. And then just how crap will they be?
  • Starbucks released a mobile app for Windows10Mobile. It lacked Mobile Order & Pay as well as other major services despite the fact that Nadella is on the Board of Directors for the coffee conglomerate. Evan Spiegel is a dropout that refuses to code for Windows (whether out of dislike or mobile market share I cannot say) while his monumental application is being cloned left and right by Instagram, Messenger, and other social apps that are adopting everything that was unique about Snapchat. It will be forced to innovate or die off from loss of investors. Pokémon Go has moved on to life support in the US as they are now focused on their worldwide audience. Niantic has officially stopped accepting petitions for Pokestops in the US. While this vain attempt to court developers to finally port or code their apps for UWP is long past due, there is simply a focus for apps on Mobile devices, of which Microsoft currently is supporting none. Hail Mary pass to any potential Andromeda device and soon. Even "if" one is released, if it fails in the market it will be the decline of Microsoft in the broad consumer market -Proud owner of a Lumia 950
  • Even MS doesnt bother with store apps for these 14 bil windows users
  • Hubert, your entire fanboy behavior is laughable and pathetic. 1.4 billion users do NOT all have windows 10 and from the 700 million win10 users they have announced, how many bother with that junk app store filled with web wrappers and desktop ported crapware??
  • Mistake due to font.
  • "Why though? Developers must follow where the customers are. And consumer-focused customers are on their phones, they're on their iPad Pros, on Alexa, on their Chromebooks, and on web-sites."
    Don't forget the Zac tablets powered by Windows 10 s. I thinking about making lol
  • Chromebooks? Lol. Back in the day, Windows phone had 3% of the smartphone market (which is a lot) and yet the apps didn't come. ChromeOS according to stat counter April 2018 is at .98% usage share, and in a market which is much smaller than the smartphone market. What makes you think devs will make apps for it?
  • Chrome already has all the apps since they just use android apps that can port into Chrome and resize. Do some research.
  • And then you have a phone app on a bigger screen. It still is a Mickey Mouse app albeit on a bigger screen.......
  • No different than uwp. good try though. It sizes correctly.
  • Developers are just being smart here. They realize that if the Windows Store grows and becomes the de facto method for getting programs onto a Windows computer, they will lose most of the power over software distribution and associated revenue streams. I don’t think many developers want to volunteer for that.
  • This company don't realize that almost no one is interested in their store. because it is very likely that Microsoft just abandon the store and come up with something else and give the middle finger to those who invested in it.
    Even if Microsoft pay double the revenue to the developers I doubt anyone will care.
  • Correct. MS blew things up too many times to ever be trusted. If that bald idiot does not care about quality and trust, others do.
  • They can increase it all they want. I don't think developers really care about Windows 10.
  • Why would phone app developers care about Windows 10. A phone app is something completely different compared to a full blown software development for a full blown operating system. 80% of the app developers are not qualified to write full blown software for W10, so why would MS care about these 80%..... Example: it takes another kind of developer (team) to create AutoCAD software compared to an app that checks your bank account, opens your garage door or activates your amplifier.....
  • It might be too little to late, but still no one successfully built the store for apps that cost 40+$. And clearly developers may jump from Steam to Microsoft Store. Small devs can't because they have to follow the users, but big can, and when big devs go then users go and then small users go.
  • They not have to jump from Steam. They can use both...
  • Im believe its late, this is will be great in Lumia 950 launch when UWP have developer here but today i though its not atractive.
  • Incentive for putting the store label on the app download page... Smart
  • Too late idiots. No sane dev would ever trust you and your idiot CEO.
  • Maybe, but Build 2018 (a developer conference) is sold out as usual.
  • IMHO of course
  • I'm a fanboy and the only UWP apps i have are the ones that come pre-installed. The ecosystem is dead, a re-focus and modernising of win32 would be a better direction. When i say modernising I dont mean in UI, I mean more in terms of forcing developers to optimise their code for efficient resource handling.
  • If that's the path to go, then not just force to optimize (not possible anyway. I've seen / supervised many, including people who are 10 years older than me, write inefficient code or have no clean understand of memory management or OOP), need to limit functionality, make it more secure, some part of the system just cannot be access. Also, force clean uninstall. A fully customizable, tamper free system... users... are not smart either. More trouble for devs, HW ad OS maker.
  • Just curious.
    Mobile game and SNS aside, let's talk about mobile "app" revenues. Anyone here still download new apps on their phone, trying out new email client every week? How many of you are not using Gmail, Inbox or Outlook? Are you paying developers monthly? Does the app have ads? How's app revenue on phones? And how about revenue for new comers? Back to mobile game...
    We all know charts are all occupied by big names with capitals for advertisements, unless you are lucky... life is hard for indies these days. And THERE'S NO TURNING BACK. Go to AppAnnie (need $$) and take a look yourself. And go see how popular mobile game publishers (the one that don't make games) are making money. Now, Windows. It's either win32 or UWP. How do you sell your win32 app?
    You need a website, you need to pay for ads either to search engines or tech sites. And you need consumer's trust cause Win32 isn't safe.
    If you are selling it, crack-proof is needed.
    Installer is needed, updater is needed (user needa run a seperate services in the background) and there's uninstaller (prob no clean uninstall).
    So, website, ads, crack-proof are the basics... can a freshman afford it? Maintain? Cyber-attack? Netflix and Spotify aren't free.
    Apps like MyTube or service like Wikipedia... people might donate occasionally. I know I do.
    Unity, Unreal, VisualStudio have free license for personal use, but they get paid by enterprises.
    Office, Git aren't free either.
    I don't install unnecessary win32 anymore, I prefer PortableApp. I'd go for UWP / web then PortableApp.
    How many of you pay PortableApps? Chrome, Notepad++, 7-zip?
    There's just too many cheap or free stuffs... tbh, apps on mobile or PC... I don't think small fries are really making any money.
    Mobile games? Either you are REAL lucky or you have money.
    If you have any figures, do share.
  • Of course, 95% of revenue between 0 and not very much is better than 70% of 0 and not very much. The problem is having a mobile app store on a PC. As Sean Connery said in the Untouchables - you brought a knife to a gun fight. For enterprises, the store isn't relevant because they have had restricted repositories of software for years. Consumers tend not to install software. Partly because they don't know how. A store could help them if they could discover good content. They can't. IT pros download from the web. Mostly they are using Win32 stuff anyway that has no store presence except the centennial packaging. They see the store as a sort of "Fisher Price" type place and one of their first configuration acts is to remove the pinned icon from the taskbar and uninstall the Microsoft crapware that's now pre-installed. The store has been available from Windows 8 and when I go into it I don't see anything worth installing. The last time I used the store I had a Windowsphone. Of course, phone is exactly the platform for a universal apps store to be successful.