Microsoft has officially opened its Windows Marketplace for Mobile application store to software developers. The company is now accepting submissions of mobile applications from developers,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, said Brix. He added that Microsoft would be offering prizes for the most popular applications as judged by downloads, revenue, and usefulness.

"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 is still way ahead of Microsoft when it comes to mobile apps. Apple runs the world's largest mobile phone application store, with over a billion software applications having been downloaded from the App Store, according to Apple executives.