Microsoft gives Access Store apps the general-availability green light

Microsoft gives Access Store apps the general-availability green light

Summary: Office 365 users now get the same service-level-agreement and compliance guarantees with Access-based Store apps as with the rest of Office 365.


In August 2012, Microsoft officially launched its plan for Office and SharePoint Stores for marketing, selling and deploying apps from Microsoft and third-party developers.


On February 3, 2014, the company made "generally available" (GA) apps built for and around Microsoft Access. With that GA designation, Microsoft added to its Office Stores yet another, officially sanctioned category of apps to complement its already unveiled app categories, including Word apps, Excel apps, Mail apps and Project apps.

The GA designation means "customers can now create, share, and use Access apps with full confidence and the same level of guaranteed availability as the rest of Office 365," according to a February 3 post on the Office blogs site. While there were Access 2013-centric apps in the Office/SharePoint stores as of last year, "until now, Access apps were in preview and weren’t supported under the Office 365 service-level agreement (SLA) and compliance standards," Microsoft officials conceded.

Access apps are now generally available for Office 365 Small Business, Midsize, Enterprise, and Education customers, officials said. But Access apps for Office 365 Government customers are still considered to be in preview. The Access apps are available via the SharePoint Store, according to the blog post (but from what I can tell, also seem to be available through the Office Store).

Microsoft introduced its Office and SharePoint Stores as part of the company's strategy to wean developers away from the plug-in model and toward a more Web-based model of app development and deployment. 

I'll be interested to see how and if  Microsoft changes the way it promotes and delivers Office/SharePoint Store apps once it remakes its site as part of its expected Office Online rebranding move

Update: In other Office-related news, Microsoft execs said today that Microsoft Project is now up to 20 million users. Also: Microsoft is rolling out as of May 1, 2014, a new Project SKU called "Project Lite," which provides project-team members with a subset of Project's full capabilities. It will be available for $7 per user per month, cheaper than Project's $33 per user per month subscription rate.

Topics: Cloud, Collaboration, Microsoft, Software Development, Web development


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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  • Coincidental with the "end of life" of InfoPath we've been hearing about?

    MJF, do you think this is related to the announcements (above the waterline) and rumblings (below the waterline) that InfoPath forms for SharePoint are likely to be replaced with Access forms going forward? I'm sure we'll be hearing about this at the SharePoint Conference in a few weeks, but these announcements seem too close together to be coincidental...
    • Bah

      you miss the point: still in preview for government plans? So they are all betas. You can actually see it fo yourselves. I tried using the "Computer Asset..." It's a laugh, not a serious software. And finally the Access Apps are all breaking most important design rules of SP: auditing, change management on item level, customization, to name only a few...
      so yes, definitely an answer for InfoPath dismissal but what kind of answer is that?
  • Is it me?

    Is it me or is Microsoft the only one the appears to benefit the Office Apps model? First, I need to have a developer subscription then give them 20% of the revenue. This all seems a little forced when it comes to Office. Most enterprise apps built around Office just don't fit or need this model.
    • It depends

      if you are writing an internal corporate app, you don't need the store and you don't need to pay MS 20%.

      If you are writing general apps that you want to sell to corporations, then it is a cheap way of doing it. You will spare some costs, such as transaction fees and probably some advertising.

      It is probably swings and roundabouts, whether you save money or it costs you more to use the app store. It is certainly a lot simpler than trying to market it solely on your own and helping users successfully download and install the app.
  • These things don't make a lot of sense to me

    I don't see how these app store make sense to developers, when it is so difficult to make money, with all these free apps lying around.
    P. Douglas
    • Maybe a way to make money

      I think that perhaps there maybe is a market for Access Apps for very specific business uses targeted at specific markets. As a part time Access developer, I for example have created a couple of pretty robust apps for my business that if turned into a SharePoint app, would be very useful to a great number of like businesses. If I was younger, would probably adapt it into a web app, and it would indeed be nice to be able to market it in a store. I know it would be useful for thousands of different businesses like my own. Most Access Apps are custom designed for specific processes or requirements and as such seems like a well built app that could be easily distributed (and updated) would be advantageous to those using like processes without having to reinvent the wheel.