WP7 Marketplace Tip #2.5 – Free App + Updates Policy Clarified (finally)

It's been a while, and there's been a lot of confusion surrounding this topic of "5 free apps", so here's the final low down:

  • Unlimited number of paid applications
    • This includes updates to said applications
    • A paid application cannot be made free 
  • 5 submissions of free applications
    • Unlimited updates to accepted free apps
    • WARNING: failed submission of free applications will count against the 5 submissions

So let's walk through a scenario

A (for "awesome" which seems to be my word of the last couple of months) signs up for the marketplace, pays his $99 (or equivalent in local currency) and gets approved. He then submits "A's Awesome Paid App" which fails submission. He fixes the problems, resubmits and the app is published. Based on feedback he submits 4 subsequent updates. Up to this point A has paid no extra fees.

A then decides to become philanthropic and submits a free application. The application fails submission - and now A is only left with 4 free submissions. A resubmits and the submission goes through, at which point he starts submitting updates, and has 3 submissions left. No matter how many updates A pushes, they will still have 3 submissions remaining.

Comments (7)
  1. Ryan Alford says:

    What about failed updates to accepted free apps?  Do those count toward the 5 submissions or toward the unlimited updates?

  2. Chris Hardy says:

    Hi Oren,

    Thanks for making this information important, I would have to say however that since this information wasn't clear before, how do you expect to be charging people their "free" submissions without giving the developer the knowledge that they were using one of these free submissions up in the first place? The Marketplace does not state this information, if it said clearly that if you submit an application and it fails, you will loose one free application then that would be OK but it doesn't at all.

    What is the reasoning for only using up a free submission for the initial application if that submission fails? I can submit a dummy free application and get it published only to have every single "update" fail multiple times causing a lot of time for the testers to go through and test each update. I can then of course just keep submitting the same application with the hope of getting another tester which may not see the same issue as other testers.

    Whilst this is only me speculating, offering "5 free apps" is a problem that you guys have brought on yourselves and I speak for most developers that free apps should be both free for a user to download as well as a developer to create and release.


  3. Chris Hardy says:

    By the way – I can't find any information about yourself so I have no idea if you work for Microsoft or not, if not, please forward my comments on 😉


  4. Joy says:

    Can we submit an app 'Free' for some time and then make it 'Paid' after an app-update?

  5. Oren Nachman says:


    As far as I know, failed updates do not count – you get an unlimited amount of submissions (failed or otherwise) for already certified applications


    Yes, I work from my Microsoft (otherwise, how would I be better positioned to pass on your feedback than you yourself? 🙂 )

    I agree that there needs to be more of a warning somewhere during the submission that lets you know where you're up to with your free submissions and that your current submission will count towards that. I've passed on the feedback…

    I'm waiting on official word for the reasoning – feel free to ping me again if you don't see a reply in the next couple of days


    Yes, you can make a free app a paid app, but not the opposite.

  6. Chris Eargle says:

    @Chris Hardy

    Free apps suppress competition. Why would I spend my time creating an application that's better than application X if application X is free and I can make no money?

  7. Chris Hardy says:

    @Chris Eargle,

    If your application is worth paying for, people will pay for it regardless of if there's a free app (that's not as good) around.

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