Developers around Australia are creating Windows 8 apps and making decisions about how to go to market. With the arrival of the Windows Store, there's another route to market that wasn't there previously, especially as it gives you a way to get to market without having to build a complete channel.
So here's quick guide to some options you might want to think about:
- Selling Windows 8 Education apps through the Windows Store
Of course, you can't just dump an app into the Windows Store without any prior steps. The app must adhere to certification policies and process required for all apps in the Store. You’ll get high visibility in the store because there's a specific Education category, and because every user will see the Windows Store on their home screen, and will be looking to try out some new Windows 8 applications, I reckon that getting listed as soon as possible in the store is a great marketing strategy. There are tons of blog posts on the Windows Store blog on getting your app into the Windows Store and strategies for making it successful through the store.
You have two options for selling your app on the Store: you can offer your apps for sale directly to the end user, with each individual user making the purchase directly from the Store. Another option is to offer the app as a free download, then manage the sales and licensing directly with the institution. Your app would then use authentication to bring specific functionality to each of your customer’s users.
If you want to enforce a volume licensing model based on user counts for sales (egfor a pre-licensed number of teachers or students), you can use a signed receipt from the Windows Store. This option enables you to securely identify the user running the app.
- Sell and distribute it directly
Where your buyers will distribute the app directly to end-users and develop using the Windows App Certification Kit. The kind of scenario this works for is a school or university which wants to get a site licence for an app, and then load it onto their computers themselves (via sideloading). If you do this, be sure to follow some of the best practices around getting discovered on the Internet.
There's a guide to deploying Windows 8 apps without using the Windows Store here
- Promoting Windows desktop software through the Windows Store
You don't have to have a Windows 8 Modern app to list it in the Windows Store. You can also list conventional desktop apps. The key difference is that the user will buy the app directly from you, not the Windows Store (so basically the Store is acting as a marketing point for you). Find out more about listing your desktop app in the Store
- Microsoft PinPoint
In addition to the choices above, you should also list your company and your product in Microsoft’s Partner Directory, PinPoint. When you do so, be sure to label your company as working in Education, and it helps a lot when the title of your product or solution in the listing contains the words people might search on, like "teaching", "spelling", "curriculum" etc. The PinPoint database is the source of various partner searches throughout microsoft.com where the results are displayed within the context of pages like Windows Server, SharePoint and other sites where customers click “How to Buy..” to locate the appropriate partner.
The Australian Microsoft Education website uses PinPoint whenever somebody clicks on the 'Partners' link (eg on this 'How to Buy' page), where it returns a list of Australian education partners listed in PinPoint
And although the consumer launch of Windows 8 isn't until 26th October, our volume licence customers (which includes almost every single education customer in Australia) already has access to Windows 8, and may be running it on some of their computers. So the sooner you're listed in the Windows Store, the sooner that people will see your software