A recent MSDN blog post by Paul Laberge, an evangelist from Canada focusing on Windows Phone 7 and mobile strategy, details some of the Windows Phone Marketplace updates that are coming in the near future.

  • Geographic Changes

We have introduced the Marketplace into 19 new countries/geographies from a consumer standpoint.

Impact: The reach and number of potential consumers of your apps and games will be much larger than it used to be.

  • Pricing Tiers

The Marketplace has been updated to reflect currency rates that more accurately reflect the price of your app compared to the US dollar as of today as this has not been done since the Marketplace opened 9 months ago.

Impact: The cost of your non-free applications and games to your users in the geographies you support will be aligned to the US, making it more fair.

  • Enhanced In-App Ad Support

By the end of 2011, the Microsoft Advertising pubCentre will be supported in 18 countries, including Canada.

Impact: If you build ad-supported applications, your ability to monetize your apps may be increased depending on if your app is available in some of the new ad-supported countries. For some interesting stats on the benefits of using the Microsoft Advertising pubCentre, see here and here.

  • Private App/Game Distribution

One of the gaps in the Marketplace that developers have told me about in the past is the lack of private distribution of apps. The typical usage scenario for this is for beta testing apps and to allow only specific users access to an app. With this update, you can give up to 100 users that you select access to an app in the Marketplace for 90 days (this is our “beta testing” scenario answer). For “private” applications that you do not want publicly available, we now give you the option of publishing your app privately. The app will not be discoverable via search on the Marketplace and you can distribute your app to users by giving them a deep link that will send them to the app in the marketplace (this is our “Targeted Distribution” scenario).

Impact: If you are building apps that you want to test out with larger number of users without having to developer unlock their WP7 devices, the Beta Testing scenario will give you greater flexibility in doing this while maintaining control on who you invite to the beta. If you build apps like Line of Business/Enterprise apps that you don’t want to have widely available in the public, the Targeted Distribution model is a great way to deliver the app to legitimate users.

  • Application Management

I can’t count how many developers I have talked to that were frustrated with the fact that anytime they wanted to change the metadata of their apps/games, they needed to resubmit the app for certification, even though no material changes to the functionality of the app were made. That changes now – metadata changes to apps and games can be made directly in the App Hub without recertification of the app.
We also provide much better analytics for your apps and games via the App Hub dashboard and you can even download these metrics into Excel. The submission process has been streamlined as well to make it easier for you to submit your app. Thanks to the feedback from developers such as you, the Marketplace team has incorporated a large number of your suggestions and have made the submission process much cleaner than it was in the past.

Impact: As an app or game publisher for Windows Phone 7, your ability to monitor the popularity and usefulness of your app to your users has increased, which allows you to make more informed decisions on how to improve your app in future releases as well as give you a better understanding of how well your app is doing in the Marketplace in general.

I think these changes will have a decidedly positive impact for both developers and the end users.  I am glad to see the steps being taken to constantly look at this infrastructure and improve it.

What do you think about these changes?