One of the key questions for those interested in what's next for Windows is how and when Microsoft plans to update and improve the Microsoft app store. On June 24, officials shared their plans.
The Microsoft Store is a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app. As such, it can and will be updated independently from Windows 11 itself. The new Store app will be available to all Windows 10 and 11 customers as of this fall. Windows Insider testers should get a preview build of the new Store next week.
Microsoft is updating the look and feel of the Store while continuing to make it a place to get apps, entertainment content, and games. Because the new Store will now allow developers to include Win32/64 and other new kinds of apps, Microsoft itself will be adding Office, Edge, and Visual Studio to the Store. The new Store also will highlight Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), as well.
For developers, the biggest and likely welcome change will be around the revenue-share model. Developers using Microsoft's own commerce platform will continue to receive 85% of revenues (with Microsoft getting the other 15%). PC games will move to an 88/12 split, effective August 1. But non-game-app developers using third-party commerce platforms within their apps will be allowed to retain 100% of revenue. Developers will now be able to host their apps and updates on their own content delivery networks.
Via an intel bridge, Android apps could be available via the Amazon Store, which will be inside the Microsoft Store, based on a Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay demo. Many Windows users have said they want Android apps on Windows, especially certain consumer apps.
Update: Here's more information on the intel bridge. From Intel's press release:
Intel Bridge Technology will enable mobile apps to run on the PC. Intel and Microsoft are recommending Windows Snap and Thunderbolt 4 for "the best multi-monitor experience." Intel Bridge Technology is a runtime post-compiler that enables apps to run natively on x86-based devices.
The new Microsoft Store will be available to customers when they upgrade to Windows 10 or Windows 11. Users will get a notification telling them that the upgrade has been tested and validated for their specific PC before they get the free upgrade. Or seekers also can use Windows Update to check if it's ready, officials said.
It's been a while since app developers as a group were interested and excited about building apps for Windows -- despite the fact that Windows 10 is running on 1.3 billion devices. Microsoft is hoping these more liberal Store policies might generate some momentum for its Store.
On a related note: if you're wondering what Microsoft is saying today about the Microsoft Store for Business, I hear the answer is nothing. As I reported in 2020, Microsoft had been planning to get rid of the Store for Business and the Store for Education. Recently, it added some new restrictions to the Store for Business. But officials won't say anything about what's happening to these Stores or when.