The new Microsoft Store in Windows 11 will be one of the great new features of the operating system. A much-needed renovation considering that this digital app store is the least popular and profitable. Surprising knowing the potential number of customers: the hundreds of millions of personal computers that use Windows.
All the big tech companies dream of having Apple’s ecosystem and its app store, the multimillion-dollar App Store, which has become -by far the most profitable on the planet and an essential part of Apple’s business due to its enormous profits and also because of the feedback it provides in hardware sales.
The problem of software in Windows
Microsoft has been trying for years to replicate Apple’s model with the aim of achieving a more controlled and unified platform, which would be equally useful for its strategy in PCs and mobility with the same system and applications. A digital store was key and Microsoft’s digital store (formerly called Windows Store) has been an absolute failure.
It has not been able to attract developers or users. In its defense, it should be noted that a store for personal computers where applications can be obtained from other sites is not as easy as one as closed as Apple’s, where users get 99.99% of the apps for their mobiles and tablets.
Microsoft’s decisions haven’t been the best either. The attempt to eliminate Win32 applications (those of all life in Windows) in favor of UWP (universal Windows and exclusive to the Microsoft Store) has been a fiasco. And there are 8 million commercial and free Win32 applications that cover any computer section and that can not be removed with a stroke of a pen if there are no alternatives.
The imposition of UWP and compulsory jumping through the hoops of the Windows Store has not worked. The big software providers have not entered into Microsoft’s game and neither have the small developers seen any interest. In this context, with no ported applications (except for Microsoft’s), user interest has been minimal.
Kevin Gallo, corporate vice president of the Windows developer platform, acknowledged mistakes in the face of the schism created among developers: “we shouldn’t have gone down that road”. Microsoft has been trying for a little over a year to undo some of the effects of what the executive called the “massive rift” between Win32 and UWP, adding to the early features of the second and returning to treating them with the consideration and support they deserve.
Microsoft announced a roadmap to solve the current issue under “Project Reunion,” a single, unified development platform for building apps on Windows 10 with additional momentum for Progressive Web Apps (PWA). The app store is key to the success of any software platform and we’ve already seen some improvements in the latest Windows 10 updates.
Microsoft Store in Windows 11
With Windows 11, Microsoft wants to achieve a more open store, more profitable, with better performance in all sections and ultimately, more attractive to developers and users.
And support Win32… As announced, Microsoft will allow developers to send Win32 applications without packaging to the store. That is, they will be able to upload the typical .exe or .msi executables (without converting them to UWP) that we can get elsewhere on the Internet. Interesting, but there is a problem that may affect security.
While users will be able to download Win32 apps from the Microsoft Store, they won’t be able to update them using the store’s services, according to the developer agreement that goes into effect this week, which honestly makes this feature less interesting and a departure from how mobile stores like the App Store work.
A Microsoft official reported on Twitter that the company wants to be “very transparent” about what apps are listed in the store. If an app is an installer and can’t be updated through the Store, users will see text below the app’s name. This way you can decide whether or not to install an app depending on who updates it.
It’s understandable that after a decade ofThe Microsoft Store for Windows 11 will try to host as many applications as possible, but it runs the risk of becoming a simple ‘catalog’ and not achieving the experience that users expect: like the digital stores for mobiles, but for Windows.
The new store will allow you to upload applications created in almost any frame. The list of supported frameworks includes the aforementioned Win32, .NET, Java, UWP, web apps including the promising progressive ones and also Android ones once the corresponding subsystem has been created.
Microsoft wants to attract developers and will also allow them to host apps and updates on its own content delivery network (CDN) and use third-party e-commerce platforms in the apps, which is an absolute first in software stores.
The new store has been created for Windows 11 (although it is not ruled out its launch also in Windows 10) and will also release a new application (client) that promises to improve the current one (slow, unintuitive and unattractive) with a new WinUI design, iconography and fluid animations in tune with the changes made.