Microsoft’s first step to building a single app store for Windows Phone and Windows is taking place today. The software giant is unifying its Windows and Windows Phone developer registration, allowing application creators to submit apps more easily. While developers will continue to use separate dashboards to manage apps, the costs for Windows developers are decreasing alongside improved simplicity for app developers.

New developers, or existing ones renewing, will now pay a single annual fee of $19 to register as a Windows and Windows Phone developer. Existing developers who are registered to both stores will receive a code with a free one-year renewal. "Our focus remains to improve the way we help you reach new users and better monetize your apps, all while reducing friction and cost," says Microsoft’s Todd Brix. The changes come just weeks after Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s head of its new operating systems group, revealed the firm is planning to bring Windows and Windows Phone development closer together.

Microsoft has a lot of work ahead to bridge the gap

Microsoft is believed to be working towards a single store that will allow Windows Phone or Windows users to download and purchase apps per platform. The company has previously hinted that it sees phones as the future of Windows RT, and Myerson is aiming towards "one set of developer APIs on all of our devices." With Windows Phone available on 6-inch devices and Windows 8.1 launching on 7- and 8-inch devices, it’s clear Microsoft has a lot of work ahead of it to bridge the gap between both operating systems in the future.