Windows 8 App Store Recipe for Success: 10 Things Microsoft Must Do

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-12-07

Windows 8 App Store Recipe for Success: 10 Things Microsoft Must Do

Windows 8 might be launching next year, but Microsoft is already making it clear that the stakes are high with the operating system. Microsoft sees Windows 8 as an opportunity for the company to continue the success it sees with Windows 7, and potentially put it in a position to take on the iPad and Android in the tablet market. To say that there is a lot riding on Windows 8 would be an understatement.

Perhaps that's why the Windows 8 application store is so important. If the marketplace proves successful, there's a good chance Microsoft will be able to achieve its lofty goals with Windows 8. But if it fails, there's no telling what the future might hold for the operating system.

That's why Microsoft will work hard to keep the Windows 8 store prominent in consumers' minds and buying decisions. But it won't be easy. Apple's Mac App Store continues to grow. In the tablet space, the Android Market, Apple App Store and Amazon's own Appstore are long-established competitors. Exactly how Windows 8's store will fit into such a market landscape is anybody's guess.

But for Microsoft, failure is not an option. Read on to find out what the company must do to ensure its application store succeeds in Windows 8.

1. High-end applications across the board

Part of the success of Apple's App Store and the Android Market has been their ability to attract top-notch developer talent. Both stores have popular applications, like Angry Birds, Flipboard and Cut the Rope. For an application store to be successful, it must come with apps consumers want to use. Microsoft better remember that.

2. A solid selection of business apps

Although it's not necessarily important that a platform like iOS or Mac OS X come with business-focused applications, it's an essential component in Windows 8's marketplace. The corporate world will want to at least try Windows 8. But if it can't find programs it wants, the store won't succeed. Business apps are a key component in the Windows 8 store's future success.

3. Tablet-optimized applications

Microsoft says Windows 8 will be running on a host of tablets. That's great. But until there are a large number of applications optimized to run on those tablets, there's simply no way for the devices to gain traction in the marketplace. Tablet-optimized applications are vastly important.

4. Strong developer support

All this talk of the kinds of applications that must make their way to Windows 8 dovetails with another important factor for the store's success: developer support. Currently, Apple and Google have been able to attract a large number of developers to their stores, and they're making money from these application markets. Now it's Microsoft's turn to woo developers. Its 80 percent revenue share for apps making over $25,000 is a good start.

Microsoft Needs to Keep Developers Loyal to Windows


5. Encourage free apps with in-app downloads

Although many paid applications are still popular, the market appears to be moving toward free applications. More and more, consumers want to be able to try an application without investing cash in it. However, developers want to cash in on their creations, and they've found that the best way to do that is with in-app downloads that give users rewards or extras while using a particular application. If Microsoft can facilitate an easy revenue-transition process for developers opting for that business model, the software company will be in good shape.

6. Easy porting

Building applications and porting them to other platforms is sometimes easy and sometimes difficult, depending on the software a developer uses. Apple came under fire in recent years for trying to make it too hard for developers to port apps from iOS to other platforms. Microsoft needs to do quite the opposite. In fact, it has to make porting applications to Windows 8 as easy as possible. By doing so, it can go a long way in quickly bringing applications to its store.

7. Solid mobile ads that developers, consumers like

Mobile ads are a necessary evil in today's applications. Google knows it. Apple knows it. Now, it's time for Microsoft to use the same approach. But the company can't fall into the trap of making ads obtrusive and inconsequential for developers. If its ads can sell applications and generate revenue while limiting how much they annoy Windows 8 users, the company might just be able to improve its relations with developers.

8. Find more rewards

Microsoft's decision to give developers 80 percent of the revenue on apps that make over $25,000 is a smart one. But since Windows 8's store will be late to the market, maybe the company should find other ways to coax developers to its store. Developers are more than willing to create applications for new operating systems if the investment makes sense. Microsoft should keep that in mind.

9. Windows 7 support

When Apple launched the Mac App Store, the company first made it available on Snow Leopard. Although it's quite unlikely, Microsoft should at least consider offering its Windows application store on Windows 7. By doing so, it can bring applications to a huge installed base. About 500 million Windows 7 licenses have been sold worldwide, and giving those users access to the app store would go a long way in getting developers interested in bringing their programs to the store.

10. Remember that Windows is Windows

The nice thing about creating a new application store for Windows 8 is that Microsoft already has a huge installed base of developers with programs they want to bring to the platform. Windows is still the top platform for software, and Microsoft must ensure that it stays that way. As long as Windows can continue to be, well, Windows, it shouldn't have any trouble establishing itself in the competitive app marketplace.

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