Getting apps into the Microsoft ecosystem has been a long and painful process since the launch of Windows Phone 7. Microsoft has been trying to convince companies to support Windows and Windows Phone even though the marketshare for both has remained very low compared to Android and iOS. The Windows stores have been getting better and better since their original launch. Now developers can create universal apps to span a range of form factors, benefit from carrier billing, offer in-app-purchases, and get free publicity from the Windows Store.
Developing apps for Windows has never been easier with a single free unified developer registration and simple tools like Windows App Studio and Touch develop. Microsoft is doing everything they can to reduce barriers to developing apps, but they need to overcome the mindshare of Android and iOS. Windows 10 running across device types will help convince companies their investment will return lots of value, and save time. However, the perks to developing for Windows and Windows Phone will continue to improve in 2015 like they have been this past year.
Microsoft plans to add more payment options in more regions in 2015; such as gift cards and possibly more Bitcoin support. In-app-purchases are still a major way developers get paid, so adding more ways to drive app monetization entices more developers to build for Windows. Making apps using simple tools is a feature unique to Windows and Windows Phone, and enables novice developers to make their own special custom apps very easily. These types of easy to use tools unlocks a new set of developers and brings them onto Windows first.
Giving developers more tools to communicate with their app users to find and fix bugs also happened via replying to app reviews. Microsoft gave developers the ability to connect with their users who are having issues and leaving bad reviews. This hopefully creates a positive feedback loop which will make better apps, and make users and developers happy. Windows 10 is planned to launch in 2015 and with it a new app model called Universal Apps. These new apps enable one app to run across device types from a single solution. Developers can get a jump start on developing for Windows 10 today by looking at Universal App documentation.