Microsoft, for $99 registration plus $99 per application, will sell developers' wares and remit to them 70% of the proceeds. Registering developers' new applications can join fewer than three dozen Windows Marketplace for Mobile applications (including as many as ten games!). This, after accepting applications since July. According to ArsTechnica, the program offers a buyer's-remorse option for those rejecting purchases within 24 hours of an application's purchase: a no-questions-asked return period.
Presumably, existing developers who have figured out how to distribute their applications see little reason to abandon successful distribution channels, and the Marketplace will eventually satisfy the distribution needs of new developers who don't want to spend resources on non-development efforts. Once users look to the new Marketplace for apps, existing developers may be pulled into the store, too. Thirty-four apps on launch may inspire a few giggles, but it's not the kiss of death.
The kiss of death may be elsewhere in the system: application incompatibility between divergent hardware with different screen sizes, different input methods, different key layouts, and so on. Maybe.
Application pricing is likely to be impacted by Microsoft's deliberate avoidance of the $0.99 application commonly found at Apple's App Store. Interestingly, Microsoft argues that by charging ten times as much, developers can enjoy greater profit even at half the sales volume. This sounds like a quote from the Dell vs Apple hardware vendor debate, doesn't it? And in an echo of the server share metrics that so deceive readers about the relative abundance of various server software on the planet, Microsoft will rate apps' popularity by revenue and not by sales volume. (Hardware sales share can be found here, but a hardware vendor like IBM might potentially deliver AIX, Linux, or MS-Windows to different customers with different demands, and is thus little aid in understanding operating systems entering the market. Also, on existing hardware one never knows whether operating system upgrades are being undertaken, and if so whether they retain software vendors from version to version; thus, outside special cases like web-facing http servers that can be queried by strangers, share among the installed base can be difficult to gauge.)
And another item from the Now Copying Apple newsdesk: Microsoft (like Apple) has now launched an open-source operating system. No, really.