Microsoft on Tuesday launched a contest for aspiring software developers, offering a total $40,000 in prize money for those who develop the best Windows 8 apps around the theme of "social good." As Microsoft explained in a post on its corporate citizenship blog:

For the purposes of the contest, Microsoft Citizenship defines a social good application as “a good or service that provides some sort of benefit to the general public and doesn’t solely exist to provide the maximum possible return to shareholders.” Some examples of social issues include clean water, literacy, food security and a healthy environment. These are all issues that can be aided through the creative use of technology, including apps.

Specifically, Microsoft will award $15,000 and a Windows Phone smartphone to two grand prize winners chosen by its judges, one for the best overall Windows 8 app and one for the best Windows Phone 8 app. The company will also award $10,000 and a Windows Phone to the entrant whose app is chosen to be the best by the public online in a voting period lasting until March 15, 2013. The submission period lasts from now until February 13, 2013, and the winners will be announced March 25, 2013. Those looking to enter can do so here.