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FEEDBACK: Microsoft answers to the Marketplace for Mobile localization issue
Posted by Arne Hess - on Thursday, 08.10.09 - 17:37:39 CET under 02 - Windows Mobile News - Viewed 14688x
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Together with the worldwide Windows Mobile 6.5 (now better known as Windows phone) launch on Tuesday, Microsoft also launched its Windows Marketplace for Mobile, which gives Windows phone users an easy to access and preinstalled localized online shopping resource for Windows Mobile applications! However, Windows Marketplace for Mobile comes with some developer restrictions which also hits the end-user hard. With the initial Windows Marketplace registration, developers have access to one localized Marketplace only and every extra localization (or country - however you want) costs the developer an extra fee of US$ 10.

On the left the US American Marketplace, on the right the German Marketplace with a different amount of available applications.

However, to get an application listed on several country Marketplaces, each app has to be truly localized; it's not possible to submit an English application for the French, German and Spanish Marketplace as well but this application needs to get a French, German and Spanish language localization. As a matter of fact, this has major financial impacts for developers because Microsoft is verifying this localization, in addition to the general functionality; a simple Google translation wouldn't help at all as well as such a simple translation would have major drawback on the quality of the user experience.

At the end of the day, this means that many developers won't localize their applications to foreign languages and therefore great applications will never make it to local Marketplaces. On the other hand this also means, customers and users will not be able to get access to these applications because Microsoft is always offering the local Marketplace in dependency of the mobile network/location the user comes from.

When we discussed this issue with Microsoft during the recent Windows phone press event in Germany, we got the feedback from a Microsoft employee:

"Microsoft is aware of this problem. However, for the launch it wasn't possible to change this Marketplace Mobile behavior but Microsoft will introduce a solution later which will allow the end-user to switch Marketplaces".

This means that a French, German or Spanish user will be able to access the US English Marketplace (and vice versa) as well. At least, this workaround will give end-users the full access to all available Windows phone applications, however the Microsoft employee also made clear that "it's not yet planned to list all available applications in a single Marketplace".

There's no official confirmation available yet, all we have is the word from Microsoft but it's quite obvious that Microsoft has to solve this problem, to offer its Windows phone customers the broadest possible range of applications.

Cheers ~ Arne


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Posted by Fanatic on 09.10.09 - 11:38:32

Interesting, thanks for the follow-up! Hope it doesn't take too long! The German market is crap! For now I will stay with PocketGear!

Posted by RonnyGydar on 10.10.09 - 16:18:57

I too really hope this is corrected soon!  I have several applications I plan to release, and they are all with english language, but meant for use anywhere in the world.

But just making it possible to "switch region" in Marketplace I think is not enough. I fear many "regular Joes" will not understand that they have to select the "US region" to see the most applications...unless Microsoft is a little clever in how this option is shown to the user.

Why not just have a button like "Show all english/global applications", "Hide non-German apps" (or "Hide non-French apps" in France) or something like that!?

So that the users do not have to scan a lot of regions to find out what english apps might be in that region (there are more than one English region).  But I guess all developers will make sure they at least release their English apps in the US region.

My point is that Microsoft need to make it very easy for users to see what is available, and finding it.

Or else I am sure a lot of French, German, Norwegian, etc users will miss out on all that is out there!

A good and easy Marketplace is important to us developers, the users, and not the least to Microsoft.  It is one of the most important factors of a mobile platform going forward.

Posted by Arne Hess on 10.10.09 - 19:05:15

Ronny, thanks for your valuable feedback from a developer point of view. I can only encourage every end-user and developer to rise their concerns about the Marketplace here since I know that Microsoft is following the discussion closely! So please - feel free to add all your thoughts, comments and ideas!

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