Microsoft officially opened its Windows Marketplace for Mobile application store to software developers on Monday.
The move has been called a step to catch up to the success of Apple's iPhone App Store.
Microsoft is now accepting submissions of mobile phone software applications from registered developers in 29 countries and is offering prizes for the most popular applications as judged by downloads, revenue, usefulness and more, said Todd Brix, leader of Windows Marketplace for Mobile at Microsoft, in a blog posting.
Developers can start uploading applications to Windows Marketplace now and will probably have to wait about 10 business days for certification or a detailed explanation of why a program was not accepted, according to Brix.
"Our strategy for all of this is pretty straightforward; we want to create a global marketplace for Windows Phones where developers and users meet to sell and buy high quality and high value applications that make work easier and life more fulfilling," said Brix.
Software developers can include their own marketing materials with their applications and will be able to earn money on sales.
People buying software on the site will be able to download applications to their PCs or mobile phones, use a variety of payment options, and enjoy a money back guarantee, said Brix.
Brix estimates the software customer base for Windows mobile phone applications is around 30 million people.
Apple runs the world's largest mobile phone application store. Over a billion software applications have been downloaded from the App Store, which is available in 77 countries, has 65,000 applications and serves 45 million iPhone users, Apple executives said during the company's quarterly investors conference last week.