Microsoft could be prepping a Windows App Store, according to purported leaked screenshots, which would directly counter Apple's Mac App Store.
Microsoft's next version of
Windows could include an applications storefront similar to the one already
available for Macs, according to purportedly leaked screenshots.
and Cnbeta have both posted
images of a "Windows App Store," complete with options to download everything
from Office 2010 and Opera 11 to Angry Birds. Winrumors noted the images are
"unverified," and Microsoft generally declines to comment on anything related
to projects in early development.
That being said, rumors of a
Microsoft-branded application store have circulated for months, mostly in
conjunction with discussion of "Windows 8," as media and pundits have begun to
turn to the next version of Windows (for brevity's sake, if nothing else).
Microsoft announced in January that the next version of Windows would support
SoC (sytem-on-a-chip) architecture, in particular ARM-based systems from
partners such as Qualcomm, Nvidia and Texas Instruments-a necessary step for
porting the operating system onto tablets and perhaps even smartphones.
A fully stocked application
store would allow Microsoft to counter Apple's Mac App Store, which offers
full-screen applications for the company's PCs. That storefront operates in a
similar manner to Apple's App Store for mobile devices, allowing users to
purchase and download applications with one click. The Mac App Store will prove
an integral part of the company's upcoming Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion."
If you want a sign of application
stores' growing importance to each company's ultimate strategy, look no further
than the recent legal tussle over Apple's attempts to trademark the term "app
Microsoft has asked the U.S.
Patent and Trademark Office's Trial and Appeal Board to deny Apple the rights
to "app store" on the grounds that "-app store' is generic for retail store
services featuring applications and unregisterable for ancillary services such
as searching for and downloading applications from such stores."
Apple then fired back at
Microsoft's attempts to deny it the trademark, in a Feb. 28 filing that
delivered a counter-argument spiced up with a few choice rhetorical jabs:
Microsoft, missing the
forest for the trees, does not base its motion on a comprehensive evaluation of
how the relevant public understands the term APP STORE as a whole," read
the filing. "What it offers instead are out-of-context and misleading
snippets of material printed by its outside counsel from the Internet and
allegations regarding how the public allegedly interprets the constituent parts
of the term APP STORE, i.e., -app' and -store.'"
If Microsoft wants the
ability to apply the term "app store" to its own products, though, then its
court battle against Apple assumes newfound importance beyond two rivals merely
sniping at each other.
Other tech giants, including
Research In Motion and Hewlett-Packard, have been touting their respective
platforms' supposed appeal to developers, in a bid to build extensive application
storefronts of their own. HP's webOS, acquired during the company's $1.2
billion takeover of Palm, will soon appear not only on smartphones and tablets,
but also PCs.
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.