Microsoft has set the death date for Windows Mobile 6.x.
The software giant will no longer accept new Windows Mobile 6.x applications or application updates from July 15 onwards. Developers will no longer be able to modify the prices of their applications, meta data, or other information. Despite the death on July 15, Windows Mobile 6.x owners will still be able to download and purchase applications from the Marketplace, but for how long? The decision has angered a number of developers who feel that the company has turned their back on Windows Mobile 6.x developers.
Microsoft sent out a notice to its Windows Marketplace for Mobile developers earlier this week. The company trumpeted its Windows Phone momentum before announcing the “scaling back” of their investments in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile:
- App Submission and Management. On July 15, 2011, we will no longer be accepting new Windows Mobile 6.x applications or application updates. In addition, it will no longer be possible to modify prices, metadata, or other information. However, you will still be able to remove your apps by contacting support.
- App Distribution. Even though app submission will stop on July 15, users will still be able to purchase and download your Windows Mobile 6.x applications through the Windows Marketplace for Mobile.
- App Reporting. Sales and download reports will continue to be available for your Windows Mobile 6.x applications through the App Hub after July 15.
- Developer Payouts. Developer payouts will continue to be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Windows Phone Marketplace Application Provider Agreement.
Anthony Wieser, who runs Wieser Software LTD, told WinRumors that Microsoft has simply strung developers along. “The most irritating thing about the whole ordeal is the way they just drop customers who have bought the software,” said Wieser. “I can’t imagine why anyone should wish to purchase anything now from the 6.5 marketplace, if they knew what was going on.”
Wieser claims there’s a number of outstanding bugs in Microsoft’s developer system for Windows Mobile 6.x app creators, some that have been present for months. The Marketplace for Windows Mobile apps has been appalling, he claims. “There are many many bugs, none of which seem to be getting fixed,” he said in an email to WinRumors. Wieser recently published an app update and all of the icons and screenshots were missing from the Marketplace. Enough was enough, he emailed Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in April to get some answers. Wieser detailed the following bugs:
- AAPP dashboard code gives the wrong cert modulus for 6.5, preventing anti piracy code from being accepted (Support has now been dropped)
- Download Counts reset to zero, so no indication of what apps are selling (Bug now fixed by Microsoft)
- Reports no longer being generated, so no way to see what has been sold or delivered (Bug now fixed by Microsoft)
- Currency formatted incorrectly every time you update (dropping zeroes from Denmark and other countries) (Bug still present)
- Cannot submit any prices for markets without drop down list (effectively ruling out sales to many countries) (Bug still present)
- Incorrect VAT being charged on sales to some countries (UK, for example) (Microsoft bills at 15% from Luxembourg)
- Updated apps unable to be downloaded from Marketplace by customers who have purchased the app (Bug now fixed by Microsoft)
Ballmer acknowledged his email on April 20, promising that the company will “get on it,” the company hasn’t however. Wieser had two support tickets open with Microsoft’s Developer Support team about the issues. Both ticket were closed earlier this week with the following response:
Final Update: Given the recent announcement that the Windows Marketplace for Mobile will be phased out, the development team has informed us that this problem won’t be addressed. We regret the inconvenience.
Please review the forum for discussion and possible workarounds for this.
Lead, Windows Phone Developer Support
The whole experience has left Wieser disappointed and frustrated. “The worst part is that there is no feedback to developers on when or if these bugs are going to be fixed, or even if someone is looking at them,” he says. “As a developer, I’m frustrated. As a consumer, I’m disappointed.” He’s now downloading the Android SDK to develop apps for Google’s phones.
Wieser isn’t alone either in his concerns. Richard Foster, who develops mobile applications part-time for his company Edgeway software, says he hopes end users can still purchase 6.x apps. “I do hope end users can still purchase 6x Apps at least for the rest of this year,” he said in an email to WinRumors. “My 6.x Apps still out sold any WP7 Apps I had for sales by 5:1.” Microsoft has previously used Foster as a case study for developers earning big using its advertising SDK for Windows Phone 7. Despite making $28,882 in four months, with his suite of Windows Phone 7 apps, it appears his actual sales from paid applications are lower than Windows Mobile 6.x. Foster says that with Nokia devices on the way he expects Microsoft will kill off Windows Mobile 6.x apps fully. “I am expecting the marketplace to be taken down sooner rather than later,” he says.
WinRumors reached out to Microsoft for comment on the Windows Mobile 6.x death. The company refused to comment on the shelf life of the existing Marketplace for Windows Mobile 6.x apps, but did confirm that no new applications will be available from July 15. “Microsoft will no longer be accepting new Windows Mobile 6.x applications or application updates as of July 15th,” said a Microsoft spokesperson. If you’re a Windows Mobile 6.x owner or app developer then now is the time to jump ship, rest in peace Windows Mobile.