Microsoft has slashed fees for consumer apps in its Windows Store to just five per cent in a bid to persuade developers and software companies to patronise its app store.
However, games will be excluded - for the time being.
Microsoft's five per cent fee compares with an industry standard of around 30 per cent typically charged by apps stores, and is intended to attract developers to its Universal Windows Platform, which hasn't exactly been pulling in developers in their droves since it was introduced.
The cut-price fees plan will come in later this year and will apply to any app in the Microsoft Store, with the exception of any app classified as a game (to which a dizzying array of fees will still apply).
But developers for PC, Mixed Reality (ie: virtual reality), Windows Phone (!) and the Surface Hub will all benefit.
"Starting later this year, consumer applications (not including games) sold in Microsoft Store will deliver to developers 95 per cent of the revenue earned from the purchase of your application or any in-app products in your application, when a customer uses a deep link to get to and purchase your application.
"When Microsoft delivers you a customer through any other method, such as in a collection on Microsoft Store or any other owned Microsoft properties, and purchases your application, you will receive 85 per cent of the revenue earned from the purchase of your application or any in-app products in your application," explained the company in a blog post.
The move coincides with the Microsoft Build 2018 event this week.
The fee structure, the blog continued, will be defined in detail in an upcoming revision to the App Developer Agreement later this year.
"The new fee structure will apply to non-game, consumer app subscriptions and add-ons (in-app purchases). The fee applied to these purchases will be determined by how the user originally acquired the application.
The new default five per cent Store fee will apply for all transactions using Microsoft's commerce platform and, if your customer uses a deep link to acquire your application, that's all you'll owe.
"The extra 10 per cent customer acquisition cost will apply when Microsoft delivers you the customer through any other method, such as via a Store collection or a Microsoft Store spotlight," it added.
While games are excluded, Valve Software, which operates the popular Steam gaming portal and web store, will no doubt be watching closely - as will all online games retailers, such as Fanatical, Green Man Gaming, GOG and the major games companies that also have their own Steam-like portals.
With the company's new "S Mode" for Windows, which restricts what applications can be run on a PC to only Universal Windows Platform (UWP) from the Microsoft Store, many software vendors will be concerned that this is another step towards a more closed platform, with Microsoft operating the toll booth.
The new fee arrangements will apply from an unspecified date later this year. Developers will be asked to accept new App Developer Agreement terms and conditions.
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