Microsoft had big hopes for the store that it integrated in its Windows 10 operating system. The Microsoft Store, as it is called nowadays, did not live up to its expectations, mainly because it could not attract enough developers and users. Microsoft removed entire sections from its Store since its launch, but it appears that the company is working on reviving its store in a major way.
Filed under rumor for now, because the news is not coming from Microsoft but from unnamed Windows Central sources. According to the report, Microsoft is planning to release a major Store update that introduces “new layouts, WinUI designs, iconography and fluid animations”. A redesign, as good as it may be, is not addressing the core issues that is keeping many users from using the Store though.
The report suggests that Microsoft plans to make fundamental changes to the submission policies of the store. The big changes mentioned by Windows Central let developers submit unpackaged Win32 apps, e.g. exe applications, use custom content delivery networks for hosting and for updates, and use third-party ecommerce platforms in the apps.
The lifting of these restrictions make the store more attractive to developers, as it is no longer necessary to package Win32 applications as an MSIX or rely on Microsoft Store for updates and use Microsoft’s commerce platforms. Developers may make use of Microsoft’s platforms for updating and commerce, but they don’t have to.
The new policy makes it easier for developers to bring their applications to the Microsoft Store. The changes could be announced during the Build 2021 conference and be introduced in the second feature update of 2021, Windows 10 21H2. Windows Central reports that Microsoft plans to bring its major applications, including Teams, Office, Edge, and Visual Studio, to the Store when the changes land.
Microsoft’s Store has a lot of issues currently. If you browse it regularly, you will notice that app submissions are really low at this point. While you do get some major releases, especially when it comes to games, it is clear that many major applications are missing from the Store. The Store does have a copycat problem, as you will find unofficial ports of popular open source programs on the store, often listed as commercial applications that you have to pay money for.
The new polices could cause an increase of these submissions to the Store, unless Microsoft steps up its game and introduces better vetting options.
Major software companies could bring their applications to the store easily once the changes land. Will we see programs such as Firefox, Thunderbird or Avira in the Store in then future?
Now you: what is your take on this development?