Microsoft talks up single app store at company meeting: Sources

Microsoft talks up single app store at company meeting: Sources

Summary: Microsoft may be closer to providing a single app store across Windows, Windows Phone (and possibly Xbox) than many believe.


Microsoft officials have been cagey about exactly when and whether the company would have a single app store for its Windows and Windows Phone devices.


But it sounds like that scenario is closer than many actually believed.

As Tom Warren is reporting on The Verge, Microsoft committed to a single app store for Windows and Windows Phone during its annual company meeting in Seattle on September 26. I've heard the same from my own sources.

I've heard a few additional details about what was supposedly discussed today from my sources.

The new unified store is supposedly going to be part of the next version of Windows, which I believe could be Windows 8.1 with the Spring 2014 GDR update, according to one of my contacts. (Another contact said no timing was shared as to when this will happen.) I'm not clear if Microsoft also demonstrated or outlined a plan to make that store the same one that is featured on Xbox One, some time post launch of that console this November.

I'm also hearing Windows Azure is likely playing a role in this scenario. I'm thinking that this might have to do with cloud compilation of applications. This would involve Microsoft compiling developers' applications for them, like they did with Windows Phone during the move from Windows Phone 7 to Windows Phone 8 to help with portability and performance.

The other Azure possibility: The back-end code for certain apps runs on Windows Azure and is streamed to phones and PCs. That would give users the impression that Halo 4 really is running natively on their Windows Phone or Windows RT tablet. 

None of this is too surprising -- beyond the possible timing. Microsoft execs have been hinting, if not outright claiming, that in the future there will be "One Windows" and one Windows API (meaning WinRT, I would assume). At the company's Financial Analyst Meeting last week, Executive Vice President Terry Myerson reiterated that vision, noting "“We should have one set of developer APIs on all of our devices.  And all of the apps we bring to end users should be available on all of our devices.”

In addition to making developers happy, a single store that included both Windows 8 Metro-Style and Windows Phone 8 apps would definitely help with the never-ending complaints about shortages of Windows 8 and Windows Phone apps.

I've asked Microsoft if the company has any comment on claims they've shown off the common store today. A spokesperson said the company had no comment.

Update: I erroneously noted Microsoft demonstrated a unified app store during the company meeting today. There was no demo; just more talk (yet again) about the fact this is the goal. I updated this post to reflect those facts on the evening of September 26.

Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Smartphones, Tablets, ARM, PCs, Windows Phone


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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  • Hopefully they fix the current store first

    The current Windows8 app store has a pretty terrible layout.
    • Yarr

      I wanted to disagree with you, but man oh man the current W8 store is beyond bad.
      • Are you talking 8.1 app store or 8.0 app store?

        I think the 8.1 app store is better, but neither are as enjoyable as Windows Phone's app store layout.
    • Already fixed

      The Windows 8.1 Store is vastly superior. It has almost too much information in it. At least it lets you see apps by a single publisher, and gives you recommendations.
      • Maybe

        Until windows 8.1 is released, I'm stuck with the current app store, which sucks.
  • Promotional possibilities

    This is also undoubtedly an attempt to sweeten possibilities for developers. If a company has apps for multiple devices they can offer package deals, or even subscriptions to the app across multiple platforms. The store knows what devices you have.
  • One API would be nice

    I hope that one API thing would work out. It would really help the platform.
    So far "one API" was more like 1.5 APIs. Some things could be ported without changes between Windows Phone and Win RT but too many places required small changes due to slightly different implementation.
    Ability to run WP apps on WinRT would be awesome. Why did it take MS a year to figure that out I have no idea.
  • Oh, wow!

    Oh, wow! Oh, wow!

    --Steve Jobs, last words
  • MS

    Isn't winning any converts with its current phone and tablet offerings. On the server side MS has world class technology. If MS can find a way to execute with it's One Windows strategy, it would be a game changer. So far, the reality is nowhere close to the vision. It's football season I'm America and so I will use a line every player, fan, coach, and armchair quarterback is familiar with. It isn't about the game plan, it's about the execution. MS mobile strategy is like a bloopers reel. Fumbles, miscues, blown opportunities.
  • MS Corporate Strategy Primer: MS One+Azure Cloud+AppStore+METRO+Surface

    Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
    Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
    Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
    One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
    In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
    ONE RING TO RULE THEM ALL, One Ring to find them,
    In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
    • Baa

      - limited boot options
      - limited hardware
      - limited UI
      - limited developer options
      - 30% cut of revenues
      - subscription Office
      - Technet folded
      - no advance developer OS builds except under pressure
      - reduced console options
      - from convicted monopolists

      Despite a lifetime of MS experience still no comment from Foley and Bott about MS's underlying corporate strategy :-(

      They follow like sheep into the pen.