Microsoft ignores the post-PC world and reports $4.97 billion profit on top of $19.90 billion revenue for Q4 2013

Microsoft recently celebrated the start of a new year – at least for those who watch Microsoft. July marks the start of the fiscal year for Microsoft and today they’ve shared their financial results for their fourth quarter of 2013. The big news? The company had a 10 percent increase in revenue for the same quarter the previous year. The Redmond company reported $19.90 billion in revenue for Q4 2013 as they enter their phase as a devices-and-services company.

Microsoft expands payout market coverage for developers, adds more billing connections

Microsoft has announced on its official Windows Phone Blog that a substantial increase in app downloads and revenue has been experienced by developers. The company has continuously expanded developer support and store coverage since the platform launched back in 2010.

Not only are we looking it added reach, but it's reported that app downloads is up by more than 100 percent, while paid app revenue has rocketed by nearly 140 percent since Windows Phone 8 launched last year. The team also unveiled a few enhancements to expand distribution and opportunity.

Report: Evernote experiencing higher average revenue per Windows Phone user than Android

According to a report over on CITEworld, Evernote is currently witnessing a higher average revenue per user on Windows Phone, when compared against Android. While Google's platform has a rather large install base, leading to an overall increase in revenue, it's interesting to note that Windows Phone owners spend more money than Android consumers. it's a familiar situation and why developers tend to favour the likes of Apple and iOS.

HTC's November financial report shows signs of growth

Hold your breath everybody, we're publishing positive news about HTC and the company's finances. After a number of reports released by the manufacturer have each displayed signs of continued negativity, the November unaudited financial documentation is a different story. 

According to company numbers, there are possible signs of improvements with revenues of NT$21.2 billion ($729 million), up from NT$17.2 billion ($529) million reported in October. This boost can be attributed to the release of new hardware on the Android and Windows Phone platforms.

Developers of Parcel Tracker abandon Windows Phone due to no revenue

RIP Parcel Tracker: 2010-2012

We have to paint yet another bleak picture for one of our favorite apps on Windows Phone: Parcel Tracker. The package tracker app was featured numerous times on this site and we always gave it a thumbs up, but evidently that wasn’t enough as the app has been removed from the Store.

The developers have evidently sent a news-update thru the app to current customers letting them know that development has stopped and the app has been withdrawn. While current users can still use the app when it comes to Windows Phone 8, you’ll be out of luck.

The developers cite that most users never bought the app and therefore it wasn’t financially lucrative enough to support it anymore. As we’ve heard from some devs before you have to be in Windows Phone dev as a hobby right now.

Microsoft made an estimated $736 Million from Windows Phone in FY 2012

According to Seeking Alpha who have managed to calculate an estimation as to just how much Microsoft has made from Windows Phone in the last fiscal year, the software giant is estimated to be looking at $736 million from the mobile division. While we're still on the steady growth path Microsoft will continue to shield revenue performance of the platform until there's something to frame on the office wall.

Seeking Alpha worked out that by removing each non-Windows Phone layer from Microsoft's EDD (Entertainment and Devices Division), they found Windows Phone revenues has been fairly steady over the past few years, since its launch in 2010.

Microsoft on and ads ‘We see our users as customers, not inventory’

With the re-launch of Hotmail as Microsoft has garnered a lot of adoration from the media and the public, especially when Google just announced the indefinite delay of their Nexus Q orb. As far as PR this week: Microsoft 1, Google 0.

One of the main features that Microsoft is touting with is that they won’t scan your email to deliver personalized ads—a clear shot at Google’s Gmail ad-machine. They have even set up a simple ‘how to’ on switching from Gmail to Outlook.

But with no personalized ads based on the contents of your email, how is Microsoft making money?

AdDuplex interviews 4Bros Studios, developers of the WP Game Taptitude

AdDuplex has ran another marketing and monetization interview with a Windows Phone developer. This time they've managed to get 4Bros Studio, developers of the incredibly successful Taptitude, on board for some insightful answers.  

Taptitude passed the 100,000 downloads checkpoint earlier in January and is arguably the best rated app for Windows Phone. This positively reflects just how much revenue the free ad-supported indie game is raking in. While no exact numbers have been published as-of-yet, they do note in the interview that they've earned over $70,000.

"Taptitude has been out for just over a year but in the first 4 months we only made $500.  At the time we were pretty happy with that, but in reality it wasn't even enough to cover a much needed server upgrade. Our great user community ended up donating the required funds for the upgrade.

Despite being a slow start, we're now pulling in 10-15k per month in ad revenue, and yet we've never been very highly downloaded (ranked 150th ATM). The lesson here is to never give up, just make the game you want to play and you’ll be rewarded one way or another. If nothing else, you'll learn something that can be applied to your next project."

4Bros Studio is built up of four brothers, three of whom work for Microsoft. This is a real testament to the quality of personnel at the company and how even employees are able to create some fantastic projects for consumers to enjoy on company platforms. Be sure to read up the full interview at AdDuplex.

As a side note - should you have not yet checked out Taptitude, be sure to download it (for free) from the Marketplace.

Source: AdDuplex Blog

Quick developer comparison of available Windows Phone advertising networks

Xeno bits, the developer behind Belote WorldTour for Windows Phone, has been taking a look at in-app advertising on the platform. While Windows Phone is still the baby of smartphone operating systems, it does provide developers a few paths to take when it comes to advertising solutions. Xeno bits took a look at Microsoft's Pubcenter, Inneractive and Smaato for revenue from advertisements loaded within their app.

Google's AdMob received no attention due to issues with the SDK having a negative impact on performance. Accumulating over 4,000 downloads, and taking a look at graphs reported by three chosen publisher networks, led Xeno bits to the following conclusion:

  • "Smaato will not let you earn much, but at least today they are the only ones from who I received money. Their SDK is pretty good and site is the best I tried so far, especially regarding analytics."
  • "Inneractive tools are easy to use, I was easily able to contact their support and they spent some time to help me solve my issues by chat, but I was disappointed by their answer to my displayed ads amounts issue."
  • "The Pubcenter SDK is the best for sure, their site not so much (I need to use IE (32bit) version in order to use it). I finally succeed to setup my account in order to be paid at the end of November, as they were opening pubcenter to new countries including mine. But I still have not received any money from them so far... I heard many times that I had to be patient with microsoft (same thing for paid version of my app...)"

What's interesting to note is how low eCPM is on the smaller networks. Smaato reported just $0.075, Inneractive at $0.2, while Microsoft was at a reasonable $0.56. An issue many developers have with Pubcenter is the limited availability. While there have been a few user stories (such as this) being published, it's still a game of which one is best for you, as is the case with general website monetisation. Trial and error.

Read the full report and gander at the pretty graphs over at Xeno bits.

Source: Xeno bits

Windows Phone app makes fives times more than iOS version - A developer case study

We like single case studies. You get exceptional detail and that personal touch. We also know you can't extrapolate the result to every similar situation, but they are useful for drawing some conclusions. For example, a few months ago, we wrote about about a Mortal Kombat guide for Windows Phone versus its Android version (Part 1, Part 2), with the former having a higher return in ad-revenue. Now we turn to a case with iOS.

The story is told by Anlock, who specialize in child-learning apps for mobile platforms. They make the same apps for both iOS and Windows Phone except that the iOS version is "more enhanced". They were making only iOS apps but were persuaded to try their hand at Windows Phone--since they had all the content, porting was easy. On both platforms their apps received the same 4 and 5 star reviews and both were even featured at some point in the Marketplace and App Store. The only difference between the two, really, was Anlock tried an "extensive advertising campaign" with iOS (that failed) whereas on WP7, they had no out-of-pocket advertising program. So what was the outcome?

"In terms of ranking, our WP7 app has been number 1 in the US in the Kids + Family category for the past three months in the Marketplace. As for the iPhone app, it has been ranked in the top 400 in Games\Educational for more than 2/3 of the entire time frame, reaching the top 100.

The end result? As said, FIVE time more sales of our WP7 app vs. our iPhone app."

The next question of course is, why the difference?

Windows Phone continues to top mobile OS CTR

Windows Phone has been top of the charts when it comes to advertisement CTR (click-through rate) for some time. Smaato has provided Q3 data and the trend remains the same with Windows Phone heading the way and Symbian close behind. iOS has moved from 3rd to 4th place however, with RIM moving up. This is comparing numbers and placement with Q1 data.

While the average user may not understand nor care for CTR, for developers it's key when using advertising over app purchases for revenue. The question of CPM or upfront payments has always been a tricky one to answer, but should your app be popular with adverts being displayed, the above data would suggest you should rake in some clicks. Interesting to see Android still trailing behind.

Source: Smaato, via: TechCrunch

Microsoft aims to halve production costs with Windows Phone, only works with Qualcomm

Bloomberg just ran an interesting story interviewing President of the Windows Phone division Andy Lees, who's been making the press round lately.

The gist of the interview focuses on how it used to cost $400 to produce a Windows Phone back in 2010, but for this next generation of devices, production costs for OEMs are down to about $220. The goal though is to lower that even further to below $200, which will allow Microsoft to essentially flood the market with devices ranging from low-end (where Android dominates) to high-end (where the iPhone and other Android phones take the lead).

Something we haven't heard about though is that there is a tiered licensing based on cost of production for the OEM. The cheaper it is for them to make a phone, the less they have to pay Microsoft. So even though Redmond would be making less per device, the aim is have more devices to make up the difference.

The other real interesting tidbit is the acknowledgment that Qualcomm is the only semiconductor partner Microsoft is working with for Windows Phone:

Microsoft works exclusively with Qualcomm to develop chips that power handsets using its system, allowing it to specify technical details to ensure devices run more smoothly, the executive said.

There is currently no plan to work with other semiconductor makers for Windows Phone 7 devices, he said.

That contradicts earlier information about Nokia working with ST-Ericsson for dual-core CPUs. Indeed, even Qualcomm is on board with Nokia these days. While this doesn't rule out other semiconductors such as Samsung's own Hummingbird, it looks like Qualcomm has a favorable position with Windows Phone for the near future.

Thanks, TheWeeBear, for the heads up!

AdDuplex developer interview series [Developers]

Much like our own developer interviews, AdDuplex have begun their own series but will focus mainly on monetisation and marketing. Earning revenue on Windows Phone has always been head of many debates and forms the most used excuse by developers on competing platforms. To kick-start the series of interviews, they have been joined by René Schulte of Pictures Lab and Helium Voice.

Here's a cheeky snippet of the interview:

"Yes, for some apps. In particular long running or often executed apps (like games) benefit from the ad supported model, esp. if an impression based ad network is used, where you get paid out for every minute (?) of impression.

I think other apps which aren't used that often work better with the usual trial / paid model. Pictures Lab is an example for this. BTW, a good trial mode is very important. Many users don't even consider to download an app if it hasn't a trial mode."

We recommend developers who are starting out to keep an eye out for future consultations. Be sure to read up on advice and experience that established developers provide in their answers.

Source: AdDuplex

Android vs Windows Phone free apps - A case study: Part II

A few weeks ago, we covered a single case study of one developer who released the same app on Android and Windows Phone: 'Mortal Kombat Tactics' by Neuralnet found here in the Marketplace.

The conclusion at the time was that Windows Phone was a better platform for developers to make money on (via ads) due to the fact that visibility is much higher than the Android Market. As a result, the developer brought in just $1.27 form Android in five days versus the $14.77 for the same time--that's a huge difference obviously.

But, would that advantage last? Luckily, Alex updated his post to show what thirty days in August would look like instead of just five:

  • Android revenue is $3.44 with an eCPM of $0.30 and a total of 11,606 Impressions
  • Windows Phone 7 revenue is $108.55 with an eCPM of $0.94 and a total of 114,920 Impressions.

We don't really need to point out how $3 is slightly less than $108 for Windows Phone, do we? Alex summarizes:

"The 30,000+ apps in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace and 300,000+ apps in the Android Market are good numbers, but discovery is everything. Which gives a clear advantage to Windows Phone 7.

Once your app is on the "New" or "Just in" category is the best chance that your application can be seen by a lot of people, on Windows Phone 7 your app can be under the "New" category for a full day or two, three if you are lucky, but on Android is another subject all together because you can have 40 plus apps published at the same time yours is and that's your big chance to be seen by a lot of people."

Certainly food for thought for developers looking to pick a platform to work on. Like all things though, as Windows Phone's Marketplace grows, this advantage may dwindle, but as of right now it's looking pretty good.

Source: WP7DesignCorner

Did Microsoft make 3 times more from HTC than WP7?

In an arithmetic-filled tweet yesterday, Asymco analyst Horace Dediu claimed that Microsoft made more money from sales of HTC Android phones in Q2 than it did from total WP7 sales.  While the numbers he used were not exactly "official," His rough estimate goes like this: MS would have received $15 for each of the 1.4 million WP7 devices sold, for a toal of $21 million.  HTC sold an estimated 12 million phones, the bulk of them running Android.  And according to Citi, HTC would be required to pay Microsoft $5 for each of those 12 million, totalling $60 million.

Of course, there are plenty of ways to dispute the exact numbers, but this raises some interesting ideas.  Firstly, despite recent reports of WP7's "abysmal" revenue, we know that Microsoft is committed to it.  So by collecting money from companies like HTC and, possibly, other OEMs who use Android, they can funnel money back into floating WP7 until it presumably takes off in the near future.  That allows them to cut losses until it makes a profit, much like what happened for the first five years of Xbox. 

Even more interestingly, revenue generated by Android sales could actually drive OEMs away from Android and more toward WP7.  One of Android's biggest draws for manufacturers is that it that Google offers it up for free.  However, as we see from HTC's situation, Microsoft does not.  This, coupled with absolute power over WP7 licensing, gives MS the potential power to make it cheaper for device manufacturers to license WP7 from Microsoft than to get it "free" from Google.  Quietly brilliant.

Source: Asymco, Business Insider; Via: WPSauce

Windows Phone revenue "abysmal", still better than Android

The Seattle PI has done some sleuthing in Microsoft’s annual report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and found out that by subtracting a few figures, you get a rough $600 million dollars in revenue for fiscal year 2011 for Windows Mobile and Windows Phone.

The math comes from taking the $8.103 billion in Xbox sales away from the $8.716 billion from the whole Entertainment and Devices Division, resulting in $613 million in Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, Zune, Mediaroom, Surface and hardware sales. That means of course that actual revenue is lower than $600 million for just Windows Mobile/Phone.

Nick Eaton of the Seattle PI calls this "abysmal" and depending on how you look at it, perhaps. Compared to Xbox, sure. Compared to Android? Not so much. After all, Google makes $0 from Android sales, though they do take in some money through the limited advertising on the phone. In that sense, making money off of the OS is not Google's goal, but market saturation is. The same is the same for Microsoft at this point. While they do charge for licenses, it's not exactly an area of revenue for them, nor are they banking on it (pun alert). However, neither was Xbox which took 5 years to turn a profit (and after losing billions).

From this we can take away what we already know: Windows Phone sales are not "hot" and this does not change things, making it perhaps a moot point. Microsoft's game plan is Mango, Nokia and Skype for the future. Their make or break moment will be first half of 2012 when all of their systems (PC, Xbox and Windows Phone) really start to converge into a cohesive ecosystem. 2010-11 was more of them warming up and laying the groundwork, which is quite impressive. Throw in the fact that Windows Phone scores higher than Android in user satisfaction, there's no real reason Windows Phone can't explode in market share during 2012. So lets revisit this next summer, shall we?

Source: Seattle PI

Make money with Microsoft Ad Control [Developers]

The July 2011 issue of the MSDN Magazine features a great resource for aspiring developers - making money on Windows Phone 7 with Microsoft Ad Control. We wont cover absolutely everything since the article is massive but the detail it goes into is great for anyone new to the whole advertising and revenue realm. Unfortunately PubCenter is still not yet available to anyone outside of the US.

Before you dive onto this path of revenue, you must first ask yourself if this is the most effective way to earn revenue from your app(s). We have covered the debate surrorunding paid apps vs advertising (also which advertising network should you use). Once you've decided on what's best for your app(s), should it be advertising then you should check out the article as it will help you (as a developer) to:-

  • get started and set up with Microsoft Advertising in your application(s).
  • create an advertising-supported app using XAML or in code.
  • improve the advertising experience for your users and potentially earn more profit.

Be sure to read through the article (using the link below) to pick on some useful tips and tricks or to understand completely with how to successfully kick off your free app campaign backed by advertising.

Source: MSDN Magazine

OccasionalGamer's Elbert Perez brings in nearly $30K in game dev for WP7


We're not here to judge whether this number is good or bad, but Elbert Perez, who has no less than 12 games on Windows Phone (e.g. Quadra, Impossible Shoota, Nom Nom Worm, Steam Castle, etc.), just posted how much he's brought in so far. See his site here.

Now, a few things to remember abou Perez: he's basically one guy (indie) doing all the developing, which is quite impressive and his games are all free with ad support. It was five months ago he switched from paid games at about $0.99 to making them all free with ads. So is $30k in ad money pretty good? We think it's not bad but it obviously shows that the Windows Phone platform needs to grow in order for him to continue to make and increase revenue.

In many ways for developer's, Perez's model of game development and distribution should be a source of inspiration. We recommend checking out his "Going Full Time Indie" piece on what it's like to not work for a big studio.

Source: Twitter

Developers making noise again--not receiving payments, no analytic tools

The Windows Phone 7 launch has mostly gone off with few if any hitches for developers, but there will always be something bothering them and in this case, it appears to be a legitimate concern.

Two developers, Justin James and Nicholas Yu (the latter making GoVoice)  have noted that they won't receive payments for their apps till February, which is quite far off especially if like Yu, your app launched with Windows Phone 7. Going further, the developers complain that there are no analytics to measure how popular their app is--in other words, they don't know how many they have sold.

For Yu and his GoVoice app, this is important because he wants to add the much coveted Push Notifications to his app (he already began rolling it out last week). But without knowing how many apps he has sold, nor receiving payment till February, he has to pay the server costs upfront and basically hope that he can recoup the costs. Hardly an ideal position for a developer to be in.  James concludes that for now, developers should consider WP7 a hobby instead of a source of revenue. Ouch.

Microsoft is known for treating developers pretty well--better than Apple and even Google--so we hope that they can at least address this issue before others start to feel the same way. On the other hand, these growing pains are to be expected for such a new platform--the test is to see how it is resolved.

Source: Nicholas Yu, Justin James; via BGR & Slashgear;

Further reading: Arktronic