Microsoft today merged Windows Store and Windows Phone developer accounts, and said it would offer a unified registration experience going forward. At the same time, the company has lowered its annual pricing: $19 for individuals and $99 for companies.

This new fee (previous prices were $99 for each, though Microsoft did run promotions) will let you publish apps for both Windows and Windows Phone users. As Microsoft put it: Windows Store developers are now also Windows Phone developers, and Windows Phone developers are also Windows Store developers.

dev accounts 730x229 Microsoft merges Windows Store and Windows Phone developer accounts, offers one lower annual price of $19

Here’s what third-party developers building for Microsoft’s two platforms can now expect:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Amongst all the rumors and speculation that Microsoft plans to merge the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store at some point next year, it’s important to note today’s changes are only for accounts (renewing will be a bit different, Windows Phone developers will have to validate with a credit card, and so on). Developers will continue to use the separate Windows Store and Windows Phone Dev Center Dashboards to submit and manage their apps.

Last but not least, Microsoft is offering challenges (one, two) to Windows and Windows Phone developers via Nokia’s DVLUP program. Like the merging of the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store, this is a precursor to next year’s merger of Microsoft and Nokia.

See also – Nokia launches DVLUP rewards program in 21 countries to boost Windows Phone development with gamification and Nokia expands DVLUP rewards program to Asha developers, now offers over $5 million in incentives

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