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
POST A COMMENT

235 Comments

View All Comments

  • dagamer34 - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    If you don't like the Metro UI, no one is forcing you to use it. Reply
  • jeremyshaw - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    yeah, seriously. MS isn't making Metro UI for desktops, just tablets and users who want it... Reply
  • futurepastnow - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    Yes, they are. The Explorer shell is gone and Metro has replaced it completely. In these early builds, at least, Metro cannot be turned off and you cannot boot to the desktop. Reply
  • dragonsqrrl - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    Yes, in these early builds that may be the case, but Microsoft has stated publicly on multiple occasions that the metro UI will be optional on desktops. You can use it in combo with the traditional explorer interface (similar to the demo), or disable it entirely. Reply
  • UMADBRO - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    He just wants to go around crying because he might have to learn something new. I think a complete redesign like this is needed. Windows was getting rather boring, even with some of the new stuff added in 7. Give it a chance at least. Im sure for all the old fogeys that have an aneurysm at the thought of anything changing, there will be some classic options. And also on note, ITS A PRE-BETA DEVELOPER RELEASE. NOTHING IS FINAL YET! SO CALM THE F&*$ DOWN! Reply
  • loll123 - Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - link

    And you seriously think that Windows is made primarily for people like you? The corporate customers (the ones that are Microsoft's bread and butter) who resisted upgrading from Windows XP up until this day aren't going to accept change like this just because Microsoft says it's the way forward. They are going to have backtrack and redesign just like they did with Vista -> 7, unless the board of directors decide to clean up this mess and rein the design in before final release (as seems to be business as usual at Microsoft). Reply
  • BioTurboNick - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    You seem to be suggesting that 7 was a backtrack on Vista. That is far from the case. Reply
  • mlambert890 - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    +1... in addition, corporations are refreshing more and more slowly and are more and more out of sync with consumers. This is to the extreme detriment of IT as consumerization is a real trend. IT is reaching an "adapt or die" point in time and it is almost certain the latter will happen. Eventually businesses will simply allow the 'bring your own' model and contract services to provide capability.

    These are well known and understood industry trends and are real to anyone who *actually* works in the industry. The only folks who don't 'get it' are IT cube workers in denial or kids posting on blogs who think they understand the industry by reading comment threads.

    This is actually a big problem for Microsoft because consumers are becoming a bigger force, but they are failing against Apple to capture enthusiasm with new consumers because legacy IT people, and out dated Windows users, want to keep the product stagnating.

    Lost interest on the consumer side coupled with absolute inertia on the IT side is a killer for MSFT. They have to try to do something. Maybe Metro isnt it, but the nay-sayers on this thread have zero clue and are irrelevant.

    The massive success of Apple has been absolute proof that consumers want a commoditized experience and the increasing presence of macbooks and ipads (guerilla style) in even *large* enterprises is proof that business is more than happy to pass the end user technology burden *onto* users.

    If someone is willing to BUY and SUPPORT their OWN MacBook and ipad, why NOT let them if you are the CFO? All you need to do is ensure that your corporate apps are all presented via browser and/or managed service and enterprises are fast moving to make that happen.

    It is do or die time for MSFT. if they listen to the eternal bitching and moaning of forum malcontents, they'll end up dying.
    Reply
  • loll123 - Friday, September 16, 2011 - link

    People like you say all this while Microsoft are enjoying record sales with Windows 7 (and record profits as a company as a result), and while no one can show any numbers that tablets other than those made by Apple are actually selling. In the end, although it might take the intervention of shareholders or the BoD, I think Microsoft will know better than to throw out their existing (and extremely profitable) business for what is increasingly looking like a new IT bubble. Reply
  • loll123 - Friday, September 16, 2011 - link

    I understand your point, but a backtrack is exactly what it was. Windows 7 took all the good stuff from Vista like UAC, aggressive disk caching and the re-designed audio kernel and put them in a system with more mature drivers, important tweaks and with a smoothness and a UI that users actually liked rather than reviled. They responded to the criticisms of Vista and the result was an excellent operating system. It's no coincidence that Windows Vista failed miserably whereas Windows 7 was a huge success, but the difference was definitely in the finer details and in the user experience. Eventually Microsoft are going to have to bow to customer pressures in the case of Windows 8 as well. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now