Microsoft confirmed that from 15 July 2011, developers will no longer be able to submit new apps to its Windows Marketplace for Mobile, its store for products targeting Windows Mobile 6.5 devices. While apps will still be available for sale, it will not be possible to modify prices, metadata or other information, and apps can only be removed from the market by contacting the support team. While sales and download reports will also still be available, and developer payments will be made as normal, Microsoft said that “additional information regarding the scaling back of our investment in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile will be shared over the coming months as plans become finalised.”

While Microsoft’s focus is now on Windows Phone 7, and its supporting app ecosystem, figures from Gartner show that in the first quarter of 2011 more devices were still sold using the legacy platform than the new one. In addition, there is a significant installed base of Windows Mobile users, not least in many enterprises. Last year, the company announced its Windows Embedded Handheld platform for corporate mobile devices, which it said was “based on Windows Mobile 6.5 technologies, and targeted specifically at the enterprise handheld market.”

According to research from Distimo earlier this year, developer support for Windows Mobile has (unsurprisingly) begun to tail-off, with its most popular software coming from “just eight” publishers.