Microsoft previews Windows 8 app store, launching with the beta in late February

Microsoft previews Windows 8 app store, launching with the beta in late February

Summary: The beta of Windows 8 will launch in late February 2012, as will its app store, which initially will include only free apps from developers Microsoft invites.

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On December 6, Microsoft offered a press preview of the app store it is building for Windows 8 -- and which will launch in late February 2012, concurrent with the release of the one and only Windows 8 beta.

(The Next Web reported recently that the Windows 8 beta would hit in late February, according to their unnamed sources.)

As Microsoft indicated at Build, its Store will allow licensing, purchase and download of Metro-style apps from directly within the Store. Desktop (non-Metro-style) apps cannot be downloaded from inside the store, but developers can promote those apps there and offer links to them, officials said back in September.

At today's Store preview, Microsoft officials shared updated stats on Windows. They claimed that there are now 1.25 billion Windows PCs in existence (1 billion was the last Microsoft-provided figure I recall). They said that 3 million copies of Windows 8 developer preview have been downloaded since September, when Microsoft made that version available to interested testers. And they said there have been 500 million copies of Windows 7 sold to date. (That figure was 400 million, as of July 2011.)

According to AllThingsD, which liveblogged the store preview, Microsoft is allowing developers to price apps from between $1.49 to $999.99 (as well as offer them for free, one would assume). There will be gradations in the percentage Microsoft gets as its cut, blogged Ina Fried, the AllThingsD reporter covering the event. Microsoft will start with a 30 percent cut, which will drop to 20 percent as soon as an app makes $25,000 from sales and in-app purchases.

Fried noted that Google takes a five percent cut on apps sold through the Chrome Web Store, while Apple gets 30 percent for its Mac and iOS app stores.

When Microsoft launches the app store in late February, it will include free apps only, and included apps will only include those from developers that received invitations from Microsoft, Fried blogged.

Update: A few more tidbits:

* Microsoft is launching a "First Apps Contest" for developers who'd like their apps to be considered for the Store’s opening. More details on the contest can be found at buildwindowscontest.com.

* The Windows 8 App Certification Kit, Windows Developer Dashboard and the Windows Store App Certification requirements, are all going to be available via this MSDN page.

*A new Windows Store blog launched today, as well.

Now that Microsoft has (surprisingly) shared its beta date target, I already am seeing tweets from folks wondering whether February means Windows 8 can still hit the rumored release-to-manufacturing (RTM) target of Q2/Q3 2012. I, for one, believe it still can, given Microsoft's increasingly condensed beta cycle and corporate decisions to release code only when it's pretty much complete.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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12 comments
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  • RE: Microsoft previews Windows 8 app store, launching with the beta in late February

    This is good news...now all I need is some good news on Silverlight.
    marjorienorm@...
  • No mention of WoA support

    You would think that they might outline the compatibility agenda at an announcement that developers might be taking an interest in...
    Joe_Raby
    • RE: Microsoft previews Windows 8 app store, launching with the beta in late February

      @Joe_Raby My guess is they're still trying to figure that part out yet. Probably have to wait till Beta hits to find out.

      My own personal opinion, MS should cut the legacy / compatibility cord for Win8 devices that run on the ARM architecture & leave the legacy / compatibility mode for the X86 architecture.

      The time is now for MS to make a clean break with the past and there's no better way to do it than having Win8 run on a brand new architecture (ARM). Those who really need to run legacy software can buy Intel-based machines.

      If they choose this route, hopefully MS will work hard on developing Metro-only versions of their apps and then slowly over time get rid of all legacy and have only a Metro-based UX on all devices.
      smulji
      • RE: Microsoft previews Windows 8 app store, launching with the beta in late February

        @smulji
        I completely agree with you, this would be the right strategy going forward since WinRT is the future not Win32.
        MADol
  • Apple tax clone

    How anyone can simply note the 20-30% tax and fail to make a comment is beyond me. It is as if ZDNET 'experts' haven't realised what the Internet is.<br><br>Why would a customer who has bought a PC, paid his broadband bill and suffered the ads on M$ and Google sites ... now want to pay a 30% tax on top, for a product developed outside M$?

    I think developers should produce their own store and share all the money amongst the original authors Moreover iIwould have thought a company like Amazon or Adobe would find it profitable to offer an alternative store FOC to developers.
    jacksonjohn
    • Good idea, but.....

      @johnfenjackson@...

      You KNOW that Microsoft will require that all software purchased for Win8 will ONLY be made available from their app store. All other sources will not be available and will be made non-accessible. You either get your software from their app store or you don't anything.
      linux for me
      • Where did you get that idea?

        @linux for me

        The fact that there is legacy support for older software would mean you can still install software the traditional way. You're confusing Apple and Microsoft. Not surprising for someone who would voluntarily subject themselves on a daily basis to a Linux desktop environment.
        LiquidLearner
    • RE: Microsoft previews Windows 8 app store, launching with the beta in late February

      @johnfenjackson@... Do you have any idea what it costs to run and properly manage an App Store? Yeah, I didn't think so.
      Skippy99
    • RE: Microsoft previews Windows 8 app store, launching with the beta in late February

      @johnfenjackson@...

      Not sure how it is so much different from retail stores taking a cut from apps.
      Dodgson1832
      • RE: Microsoft previews Windows 8 app store, launching with the beta in late February

        @Dodgson1832 The stores don't make competing apps.
        symbolset
  • RE: Microsoft previews Windows 8 app store, launching with the beta in late February

    I think Microsoft with Metro is going after the Apple user (not fanboy) who are used to cutesy looking products. The question is will Microsoft lose their users and fanboys who prefer conservative looking products.
    edkollin
  • windows 8

    a mi me gusta mucho windows<a href="http://www.pcwebsite.net">,</a> gracias.
    densk