Microsoft yesterday confirmed that its new application store – Windows Marketplace for Mobile – will offer developers 70 percent of sales revenue from each application and allow them to set their own cost for each app. In a statement, Microsoft said that the store will be available in 29 countries and the company will “continue working with developers to ensure that their applications run optimally on Windows phones by running a rigorous certification and testing process before applications go to market. Developers will be able to see detailed feedback during and after the certification process of their applications on the Windows Marketplace for Mobile developer portal.” Registration opens in Spring, and developers will be able to start submitting their applications later this summer. To secure a spot, developers will be required to pay a US$99 annual fee.

Microsoft’s application store plans were unveiled at last month’s GSMA Mobile World Congress, and formed part of the company’s new strategy to become a stronger player in the mobile arena. Its application store will go head to head with the already hugely-successful App Store from Apple, as well as RIM’s BlackBerry App World, Google’s Android Market, Palm’s Software Store and Nokia’s Ovi store. Microsoft’s 70 percent cut for developers matches that of Nokia, Apple and Google’s stores, whilst RIM is offering developers an 80 percent slice. Palm is reportedly only offering developers a 50 percent cut. Apple’s App Store has already generated over 500 million downloads from over 25,000 applications, and could generate US$1 billion in sales this year, according to Needham & Co analyst Charlie Wolf. Microsoft has said there are already 20,000 Windows Mobile-compatible applications on the market.