Microsoft said its Windows Store app saw a 110 per cent increase in downloads and gross sales, as well as a 30 per cent rise in active users, during 2014.

In a post on the Windows blog, general manager Todd Brix said the company has made “good progress” with its commitment to create opportunities for developers with Windows Store.

“Providing a platform where developers can be successful remains our number one goal as we look to 2015. We’ll continue working to generate opportunity by delivering a developer-friendly platform that spans devices and geographies, while reducing the amount of time and effort it takes to move from ideas to installs,” Brix said.

The past year saw the number of registered Windows developers increase by 80 per cent.

Microsoft is currently focusing on five key areas to help developers be successful, according to Brix, including expanded payment options in emerging markets through operator billing.

The company now has 81 operator billing agreements in place in 46 markets, with the high-growth markets of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, India, Mexico and Vietnam being the latest additions.

Where direct billing has been introduced in emerging markets, the transaction volume has increased eightfold on average, according to Microsoft.

Users can also pay for Windows apps and content using credit cards, Alipay, PayPal, digital gift cards in some markets, and Bitcoin in the US.

In-app purchase and in-app advertising currently account for 35 per cent and 58 per cent of Windows Store revenue respectively.

Microsoft is looking to focus more on in-app advertising to improve fill rates and grow developer revenue. This includes expanding the availability of Windows ad mediation for Windows Phone developers, which has been shown to improve fill rates to more than 95 per cent, and increase revenue by up to 200 per cent.

There are also efforts to improve app discovery, including updates to the Windows Store user interface, enhanced visibility for Collections, and a Deals Hub.

Microsoft also plans to improve its developer toolset further in 2015, following the introduction of Windows App Studio Beta last year. The company also aims to further simplify the Windows Dev Center registration process.

Brix encouraged developers to start building universal Windows apps that work across all types of devices running Windows, including phones, tablets and PCs.

More than 90 per cent of Windows app downloads and more than 65 per cent of Windows Phone app downloads come from devices running Windows 8.1, which Brix said makes it a good time to update older apps to reach more device types.

He added that there is “tremendous excitement building” for Windows 10 as the company continues to work towards having a more unified platform across different devices.