Microsoft's newly unveiled Windows 8 app store will challenge Apple's App Store and Google's Android Marketplace.
With its newly
unveiled Windows Store, Microsoft is aiming for a market long dominated by
Apple, and coveted by other rivals such as Google. The long-anticipated online
storefront, integrated into Windows 8, will give consumers and business users
access to a wide variety of applications and games.
third-party developers, the chance to port their applications onto Microsoft's
next operating system could prove a lucrative relationship-so long as those applications
prove popular. Applications that pass $25,000 in revenue will earn their
developers 80 percent of every dollar generated; for those that never pass that
revenue mark, Microsoft will pay out 70 percent, a ratio that has become
something of an industry standard.
By baking an
application storefront into Windows 8, and giving developers a larger slice of
the revenue pie for successful products, Microsoft has fired a significant shot
across the bow of Apple and its App Store franchise.
launched in 2008 as a platform for iOS, the App Store model proved successful
enough for Apple to port it onto Mac OS X Lion. Other companies followed suit
with their own mobile-application storefronts, although only the Android
Marketplace has managed to achieve a similar scale in terms of application
In the battle
against Apple's App Store, Microsoft is likely banking on Windows 8 attracting
a broad audience of both consumers and business users, which in turn would
generate a significant market for everything from games to enterprise
applications. Businesses are a key audience for Microsoft products, and thus a
target of the company's earliest communications regarding its new storefront.
developers have been asking about their path to market with Metro style apps,"
Ted Dworkin, partner program manager for the Windows Store, wrote in a Dec. 6
posting on the new Windows Store blog. "And, in turn, IT
administrators have been asking about deployment and management scenarios, such
as compliance and security."
way of fulfilling those enterprise needs, apparently, centers on giving
businesses direct control over application deployment. "Enterprises can choose
to limit access to the Windows Store catalog by their employees, or allow access
but restrict certain apps," he wrote. "In addition, enterprises can choose to
deploy Metro style apps directly to PCs, without going through the Store
also giving developers controls over in-application advertising, and highlighting
how the application certification will be "predictable." The latter is another
swipe at Apple, whose application-approval process has attracted criticism from
some developers as too opaque.
Windows 8 beta
will arrive in February 2012, with the final release later that year. Unlike
previous versions of the operating system with their desktop-style interface,
the upcoming operating system's start screen centers on a set of colorful,
touchable tiles linked to applications-the better to port it onto tablets and
other touch-centric form factors.
That focus on
tablets will necessarily place Windows 8 in direct competition with not only
Apple's iPad, but also the host of Google Android tablets on the market.
Against those opponents, a robust application store is a necessity-something that
Microsoft is intent on building now.
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.