The Windows Store

As we mentioned previously, the Windows Store will be the Metro carrot for developers. At the same time it will be a significant change for end-users, double-so for Windows users who move to ARM.

Fundamentally the Windows Store is as you’d expect: it’s Microsoft’s rendition of the application stores we see on Mac OS X, iOS, Android, Ubuntu, etc. It will have a prominent place in Windows 8 (currently it’s the 2nd tile) and Microsoft would be very happy if all of their developers distributed applications through it. For x86/x64 users it will be just another source of applications; Metro applications can be sold through it, while for Win32 applications it will act as a listing service directing users to the owner's website. For ARM users however the Windows Store will be the only place users can get applications from, thereby not only requiring they be Metro, but that the entire experience for ARM users will be a walled garden like iOS.

Unfortunately the Store is one of the few features Microsoft showed off during the press event that was not enabled on our tablet. Right now Microsoft is still working on what their content standards will be, a Terms of Service agreement, pricing/developer cuts, etc.

As it stands the store itself looks like functions exactly how you’d expect a Metro based application store to behave. The store will only be accepting and selling Metro applications, so non-Metro applications will continue to be installed via traditional methods.

The Windows Store alongside Metro’s APIs will serve as a two-pronged approach for security for Microsoft. Metro applications will have a fine grained permissions system similar to Android, and as a result most applications will have even fewer rights than today’s applications running with user level permissions, as applications will only be given the permissions they ask for and the user approves. Meanwhile the Store’s content approval process will further weed out bad applications. As such we’d expect Microsoft’s pitch to end-users to be something along this line: so long as you stay in the walled garden, you’re guaranteed to be secure.

From an end-user perspective one big thing differentiating the Windows Store from Apple’s Mac App Store is that Microsoft will also be allowing developers to offer time limited trials through the store, by building on top of Microsoft’s existing DRM/licensing technologies. Along these lines Microsoft will also be offering the now obligatory ability to make in-application purchases, allowing developers to sell application features beyond just the application itself.

We’re still waiting to see how software updates are handled, but at this point it’s reasonable to expect that they will become part of the Windows Update process as low-priority updates.

The layout/categorization of the store hasn’t been finalized, but it’s going to be of great interest from developers and end-users alike thanks to its significant status on ARM devices. Microsoft has gained a lot of experience from the Xbox Live Store, and at the same time developers have gained a lot of experience living and dying by the Xbox Live Store. As it currently stands Microsoft will have a curated “Spotlight” category, while other categories such as “Games” will be semi-to-fully automated.

From a development standpoint Microsoft is pitching the Store not only as an easy to access storefront for their wares, but as a source of analytic/telemetry information. Developers will have access to sales data (including sales relative to category leaders), crash reports, certain usage statistics, and other types of information commonly seen in other application stores.

Finally for developers, Microsoft is also looking at what they can do to beat Apple when it comes to application submission and approval. The Windows Store will of course have content restrictions and technical requirements, and Microsoft is looking to capitalize on making those mechanisms transparent versus Apple’s black box process. The Store’s terms have not been finalized yet, but Microsoft is promising that they’ll clearly outline what will be acceptable for the Store. For applications already submitted to the Store there will be a status page developers can access that will tell them which stage their application is currently at: pre-processing, security testing, technical compliance, content compliance, signing and publishing, and finally release. Microsoft’s technical compliance requirements will be public, and developers will have access to the tools needed to test technical compliance ahead of time to confirm compliance before submitting it to Microsoft.

Developing For Metro – WinRT: The Metro API The Technical Side Of Windows 8
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  • theangryintern - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    "It's proven itself in the phone form factor"

    Yeah, cuz WP7 phones are just flying off the shelves. /sarcasm (in case you couldn't tell)
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - link

    I like big buttons, I cannot lie. I have big icons I my desktop so as to facilitate remote usage. Reply
  • augiem - Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - link

    Tell them what you think with your wallet. Pull a Vista on them. Do not buy Windows 8. Simple as that. Win 7 will be supported for probably 10 years. I for one am not going to screw productivity by installing this. When MS's revenues fall through the floor, they'll get the message.

    This is NOT the future of computing. As much as we'd all love to have Star Trek's computer where it just does everything for you, that's never going to happen.
    Reply
  • jvillaro - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    You are as a consumer, in your right to just not buy it or use it. And MS is in their right to offer new things, change things up, take a risk and either fail or succeed.
    Garbage, idiotic, etc are your opinions... which many of us could think of you. That's the way it goes, maybe you could wait till it's released to make a real judgement.
    Reply
  • Gimfred - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    Live tiles are 1000x more useful than static windows 3.1 style icons

    Why do the icons have to stay static? Like the look but think it will get in my way or my way will get in its way. If there are animated [informative] icons now, no reason they can't be improved on.
    Reply
  • taltamir - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    You are confusing windows and linux.
    Windows has near 0 backwards compatibility. If you want to run an app or game that was made for windows 95, 98, or 2k you need to run it in linux under Wine because windows 7 will fail to run it.

    @Metro: I hate it, its horrible. It looks neat on a tablet but how am I supposed to use it with a mouse and keyboard on my desktop or laptop?
    Reply
  • mlambert890 - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    This post has to either be a joke or you are incredibly out of touch.

    Windows has 0 backwards compat? I run *DOS* apps in Windows 7. WTF are you talking about?

    And if you didnt notice, Windows 7 has "XP compat" mode. A free instance of XP to run in a VM on a free desktop type 2 hypervisor.

    Did you miss the compatibility tab and the "Run as ...." option that goes all the way back to W95?

    Show me the app you can get to run in WINE that someone competent cant get to run under Windows. Maybe you ran into some outlier case, but thats like the guy who smokes 10 packs a day and lives until 90. Idiotic to try to pretend its the rule.

    MSFT has suffered *mightily* for backwards compat unlike Apple and, yes, mighty Linux also. There are *plenty* of stranded apps that require recoding to work with newer libraries and newer kernel revs on Linux.
    Reply
  • Wraith404 - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    How much time do you spend looking at your desktop? I do actual work, so I see mine about once a week. Live tiles are a gimmick derived from Android widgets, and are pretty much only useful on a fondleslab, and even then the usefulness is limited. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    I'm used to using Windows Media Center so it won't be much of a change for me and as for that Fisher price thing.... People are BUYING ipads so you can see where everything is heading! Reply
  • fcx56 - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    Exactly, I'm surprised no one has seen this coming. This interface began in 2005 with XP Media Centre Edition and with subsequent updates through Vista and 7, all they had to add were the tiles implemented in WP7 and here we are, a tablet interface to accompany ARM support. Reply

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