In what may be one of the early steps in having a unified app store for the Microsoft ecosystem it was announced today by the software giant that the two platforms have been unified on the developer front.

According to Todd Brix, the General Manager for the Windows Phone Apps and Store team at Microsoft, this step follows the consolidation of the Windows Phone Store and Windows Store marketing and operations teams.

The basic bottom line is that if you are a Windows developer you are now also registered as a Windows Phone developer.

If you are a Windows Phone developer then you are now also considered a Windows developer.

Here is how they are merging things together:

  • Registered Windows Store developers can now submit apps to the Windows Phone Store, using the same Microsoft account.
  • Registered Windows Phone developers can now submit apps to the Windows Store at no additional cost, using the same Microsoft account.
  • New developers can register and existing developers can renew their account using the same Microsoft account. Developers will enter registration information just once and pay a single lower price of $19 for an Individual and $99 for a Company account, providing access to publish apps for both Windows and Windows Phone users.
  • Developers already registered with both Windows Store and Windows Phone using the same Microsoft account will receive a code via email this month, valid for a free one-year
    renewal when their existing registration is up for renewal.
  • Students continue to be supported through the DreamSpark program.

According to the post over at the Windows Phone Developer Blog there will still be separate portals for Windows Phone and Windows submissions and tracking your apps.

As well as the merging of the developer side of each platform Microsoft also announced a partnership with Nokia’s DVLUP community:

As an added incentive, we’ve partnered with Nokia via the DVLUP community to give you an easy way to learn more and complete challenges as you develop for both the Windows Store and Windows Phone. Along the way, you’ll earn points that can then be redeemed for great prizes (for example, Nokia Lumia phones and more).  DVLUP is currently open to developers in more than 20 countries. To participate, register for the DVLUP program and take advantage of the two new challenges available today:

So what might the next step be in the single developer platform and unified app store?