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Microsoft to take mobile Marketplace for test drive

A few new details will emerge from Microsoft's CTIA 2009 keynote on Wednesday concerning its Windows Marketplace for Mobile application store for Windows Mobile smartphones.

A look at Windows Marketplace for Mobile, which will be on display Thursday at CTIA. Microsoft

Microsoft plans to show off its forthcoming Windows Marketplace for Mobile this week at CTIA 2009, as well as its ties to the fashion world.

Microsoft's Robbie Bach plans Thursday to discuss Microsoft's take on the mobile phone application store, an old concept that is being reinvented for the smartphone following the success of Apple's App Store. Windows Marketplace for Mobile won't arrive until later this year, along with Windows Mobile 6.5, but this week the company will demonstrate how users can select, purchase, and download an application from their Windows Mobile handsets.

We've already heard a bit about Windows Marketplace for Mobile: Microsoft plans a similar revenue-sharing model as Apple, with 70 percent of application revenue going to the developer and 30 to Microsoft. The company promises that its submission process will be "transparent," in a clear dig at Apple, and it also plans tocharge developers more money for multiple submissions.

Bach will announce that Windows Mobile users will have 24 hours to return any application they purchase for a full refund. Applications can be purchased on the phone or through a Web site, and billing will be handled by credit card or through the wireless carrier's bill.

Microsoft is emphasizing that it plans to give wireless carriers a chance to get in on the mobile application fun, with plans to let carriers set up a "store within a store" on Windows Marketplace for Mobile, said Aaron Woodman, a director in Microsoft's Mobile Communications business.

Woodman declined to comment on whether or not Microsoft would be sharing any of its 30 percent cut with carriers, but it does plan to let carriers have a link off the Marketplace homepage to showcase their own applications.

While Microsoft and its partners work out the details for the Marketplace, the company is also announcing a deal to let Windows Mobile users add a little bit of style to their phones. Microsoft has cut deals with two design houses--Design Museum London and Council of Fashion Designers of America--to have artists and designers create themes and wallpaper for Windows Mobile phones. Isaac Mizrahi will be the first to participate.