Microsoft wants expensive apps on Windows Phone

Posted by Mark Raby

Microsoft thinks there are too many cheap apps out there.

As such, the company is encouraging developers to create more expensive, feature-rich apps on the Windows Phone 7 platform.

Bloomberg quoted Microsoft program director Brandon Watson as saying, "I’d rather developers sell fewer than a million downloads and get to a million dollars. If we can support a higher price point that’s good for developers," at a media briefing in Europe this week.

The comments seem to be a dig at the likes of the iTunes App Store, which has hundreds of thousands of programs for users to download, but the vast majority are less than $5, and many don't even cost anything. The sweet spot in the app world right now is 99 cents.

Thus, games like Angry Birds, even though they receive a lot of attention, don't really turn anyone into an instant multi millionaire.

Microsoft unveiled the next version of Windows Phone at an event earlier this week. Its message was that it wants to turn the current smartphone infrastructure on its head. The calling card for Windows Phone has always been that it's a completely new and seamless experience, but so far it hasn't really lived up to that grand idea.

Windows Phone 7.5, or "Mango," may actually change that. It aims to rid the mindset of apps as a separate experience from the rest of the phone, but instead they'll be deeply integrated into the back end of the operating system.

Because that means apps will require more intricate development procedures, it makes sense Microsoft would start putting out the seed that it's okay to charge more than 99 cents for a Windows Phone app.

Of course, the question that remains is whether or not consumers will feel the same way.