Microsoft will unveil its Windows 8 App Store Dec. 6, a rival to a similar storefront available on Apple's Mac OS X Lion.
unveil its Windows 8 App Store at a San Francisco event Dec. 6.
storefront will launch with Windows 8 sometime in late 2012. It will reportedly
feature both free and paid applications. In creating the portal, Microsoft is
following in the footsteps of Apple, which integrated a similar application
store into its Mac OS X Lion, and of course the mobile-application stores available
on all the major smartphone brands.
question is whether an App Store integrated into Windows 8 will appeal to those
third-party developers who are so necessary for any healthy ecosystem.
Microsoft has a long history with a deep pool of developers, with whom its
brand name carries considerable weight; however, those developers' professional
time is necessarily limited, and rival platforms-including Apple's platform-have
more than demonstrated their profitability.
said, a Windows 8 App Store will offer those developers certain advantages, at
least if Microsoft fulfills its promise to make Windows 8 a "no compromises"
operating system. For starters, Windows 8 will almost certainly find a broad
audience among both consumers and business users, in turn creating a
substantial market for everything from games to heavy-duty enterprise
applications. The size of that potential user base is already something
highlighted by Microsoft executives when they talk about the upcoming operating
system, and that theme is unlikely to fade from their presentations anytime
developers stock a Microsoft App Store with a broad array of applications, the
storefront would give Windows 8 tablets equal footing against, not only the
iPad (which offers access to Apple's App Store and iTunes) but also Android
devices (which include the Android Marketplace).
biggest challenge in promoting Windows 8, however, might be its own success
with Windows 7, which is well on its way to replacing Windows XP as the world's
dominant operating system by market share. Launched in October 2009, Windows 7
is still new in the eyes of many users, and it may take some effort for
Microsoft to convince them to upgrade to the next operating system so soon.
To the latter
end, Microsoft is adjusting Windows 8 in fairly radical ways, including its
user 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 form factors.
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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.