Microsoft is offering a $100 fee to U.S. developers for every app they would write for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. There is a limit of 10 apps per Store, and the Keep the Cash offer promo runs only from March 8 to June 30, 2013.
Besides the limit to residents of the 50 U.S. states, the app developers must be at least 18 years old, ZDNet cited the fine print of the Microsoft deal.
The cash offer represents a turnaround from previous Microsoft policy of not paying for apps for Windows 8, although the software giant had in the past paid for Windows Phone apps indirectly by funding app development work.
The change in policy is due to the realisation by Microsoft that it needs more Windows Store/Metro-Style apps that are the only ones to run on Windows RT and Surface RT gadgets.
ZDNet pointed out that the $100 offer appears paltry which indicates that Microsoft is after boosting the number of its app more than ensuring quality work.
To help the app developers, the Microsoft Virtual Academy made available a new Jump Start course for developers of Windows 8/RT and Windows Phone 8 apps. The course includes guidance, best practices, patters and techniques for both platforms.
Meanwhile, Microsoft urged all Windows 7 users to immediately install before April 9 its service packs (SP1) who have yet to install it. That date is the deadline for Microsoft to continue supporting computers with future security and performance fixes.
The service pack is made up of several fixes which Microsoft rolled out in February 2011 and support for it ends within 24 months. For those whose computers are set to automatically receive updates from Microsoft, the installation will be fully automatic with no user action needed.
Those whose devices are not set to get automatic updates and running the 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7 must have 750MB and over 1GB free space on their hard drive to install SP1.
A updated version of Windows 7 will get continue to get updates and free mainstream support from Microsoft until Jan 13, 2015.
On Tuesday, Windows also released the version 2.4 of Skype for Windows Phone 8 to enable high-quality video calls. The app automatically sets video quality based on the speed of Internet connection.
Users of higher-end phones such as the Nokia Lumia 920, HTC 8X and Samsung Ativ S can am their devices up to 720P HD video, while lower-end phones will deliver VGA video.