Microsoft has today announced a partnership with Stonewash, an app development company, and together they have launched an initiative offering five free app builds to publishers.
Stonewash started building apps for Windows 8 six months prior to the launch of the Microsoft operating system last October. Journalism.co.uk first reported on the company last June.
Rob Grainger, chief executive and co-founder of Stonewash, told Journalism.co.uk that his team had been working with Microsoft for more than 12 months.
"In that time we've been impressed with how Microsoft have gone out of their way to understand what publishers need and how to marry good content with a digital platform to create the most engaging and consistent reader experience," he said.
"It shows a real flexibility on their part and a desire to work closely with publishers who have felt alienated and disillusioned with other platforms."
He added that the free app build initiative "demonstrates Microsoft's willingness to listen to publishers, remove barriers and help bring them to the Windows App Store in a format that's intuitive and appealing for the reader".
A release from Microsoft states the move will "enable more publishers to experience and benefit from the new creative and commercial opportunities on Windows 8".
The magazine apps will include the ability to stream Ads-in-Apps via the Microsoft Advertising Network, with content stored and delivered using the Microsoft Windows Azure Platform.
Publishers who wish to register an interest in getting a free magazine app build can do so via this page on the Stonewash site. Applications close 25 March and results will be announced 2 April.
Dax Aiken, head of business development at Microsoft said in the release that working with Stonewash offers publishers the opportunity "to leverage the technology to drive app solutions that are both relevant and valuable to publishers and audiences".
Daniel Sharp, co-founder of Stonewash added: "The intention of this initiative is to bring more magazines to the Windows 8 platform."
Stonewash last month announced Project Alpha, a research project into how magazines are read on mobile devices.