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Microsoft drops plan to charge for WinMo updates

Faced with a likely backlash from developers, Microsoft abandons plans to charge Windows Mobile developers for submitting even minor application updates.

Microsoft has backed off plans to charge Windows Mobile developers $99 for submitting even minor updates to their applications.

Last week, Microsoft said that unless developers submitted updates to their applications within 7 days of their release, the company would charge developers $99 to get those updates onto the Windows Marketplace for Mobile application store, which is expected to debut later this year. But the company has decided to back off that policy, which did not seem like it would be all that popular with mobile developers trying to decide where to focus their attention amid lots of competition.

Now all updates or version upgrades for applications that have already been submitted to the store will be accepted free of charge, a Microsoft representative confirmed. This applies to minor bug fixes as well as second-generation releases that add new features or capabilities.

Microsoft still plans to charge developers $99 a year, plus $99 per application, to submit applications to Windows Marketplace for Mobile, though this year, developers are being allowed to submit up to five applications free of charge for that $99 yearly fee.

Charging for updates could have resulted in either developer apathy at the prospect of having to fork over $99 every time they discovered a bug, or a host of buggy applications frozen in time in order to avoid the update fees.

Windows Marketplace for Mobile is expected to launch later this year with the release of Windows Mobile 6.5.