The company said consumers who buy an application from the Marketplace will have 24 hours to return the application for a full refund. The setup is similar to one adopted by Google when it launched its Android store last year, but different from Apple, which doesn't allow returns of iPhone apps. If a user returns an application, Microsoft will refund its 30 percent share of the sales price and the developer will return its 70 percent share.
Marketplace users will also have more options on how to pay for applications than do users of the competitive stores, said Aaron Woodman, director of consumer product management for mobile communications at Microsoft.
Windows Mobile 6.5 users will be able to pay with a credit card or put the purchase on their mobile service bill. iPhone users pay for apps through Apple's iTunes content platform, and Android phone users can only pay for applications through the fledgling Google Checkout payment service, a limitation that some developers blame for slow sales.
Microsoft will also let mobile operators create stores within the Marketplace, Woodman said. The operator stores will appear among categories such as games and productivity applications in the store.
Despite Microsoft's financial stake in Facebook, there is not yet an official Facebook application for Windows Mobile phones. That will change in four to six weeks, when a Facebook application will become available for current Windows Mobile users. Facebook also plans to release an application for the future Windows Mobile 6.5 software, Woodman said.
MySpace is also expected to release an application in a few months for the existing platform, and will also offer one for Windows Mobile 6.5, he said.
According to research from ComScore, 59.2 percent of iPhone users have download apps. That's 511 percent more than the average mobile user and 133 percent more than Windows Mobile users, ComScore found.
In addition to the Marketplace and application news, Microsoft also said it would be offering some new customisation options for Windows Mobile 6.5. Some were designed by Isaac Mizrahi, a celebrity fashion designer. He has created some 'themes' for the phones, including wallpaper and scroll-bar designs, Woodman said.