Don't forget: Microsoft is (supposedly) working on a Windows app store, too

Summary:What should Microsoft do with Windows (if anything) in light of today's Apple announcements around a new app store and OS directions for its Macs?

I'm seeing some Windows users ridicule (and a few quietly pining for) Microsoft to do what Apple announced today: Create an Apple-like App Store for Windows.

Supposedly, that's in the works, as some may recall from Windows 8 slides that leaked earlier this year. Remember those early-concept Windows 8 slides -- the ones everyone believes Microsoft shared with its hardware partners (even though Microsoft still has not confirmed their veracity)?

According to those slides, one of the primary form-factor targets for Windows 8 will be slates. And at the same time as Microsoft ships Windows 8, it will have one or more app stores. (It sounds like the plan was each OEM would have its own branded app store that would possibly be populated and maintained primarily through Microsoft.)

What kinds of apps would be in Windows app stores? Presumably anything from paid software apps, to low-cost or free Web apps, games, utilities and the like.

Here's the problem I foresee for Microsoft, however. The company has decided to prohibit its OEMs from creating Windows Phone OS-based slates and tablets by creating a limit on screen size (of approximately four inches) for Windows Phone OS devices. That means there won't be Windows Phone OS slates (at least not for the time being). So those apps that developers are writing for Windows Phone 7 won't be backward compatible on Windows 7/8 slates or tablets... will they?

Here's what Microsoft could do to head off that potential problem. There are rumors the Softies are planning to build into Windows 8 some kind of hypervisor virtualization technology that would prevent backward compatibility issues from plaguing  Windows, going forward. If that happens, could a Windows Phone version of Angry Birds -- if and when such a thing ever actually materializes -- run on a Windows 8 slate without tweaks? Hmmmm. Very interesting....

Of course, the other downer for the Microsoft faithful in all this is Windows 8 is supposedly a 2012 thing (again, Microsoft hasn't given any kind of an official date; that's just a general consensus). By that time, Apple will have a Mac store chock-full of apps, no doubt, and millions more iPad users in its fold.

[poll id="42"]

If you had a chance to give your two cents to the Windows team after today’s Apple announcements, what would you suggest?

Topics: Mobility, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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