Thursday, 19 July 2012

Windows 8 App Store Promises Apple App Store Battle

Microsoft has pushed back the curtain from the app store it plans on integrating into Windows 8, in the process kicking off what will surely be a vicious competition with Apple and its own app storefront for Mac OS X Lion.

Unlike Windows Phone, whose own app store is growing at a relatively slow rate (and whose total number of apps on offer lags well behind that of Apple's App Store for iOS), Windows comes with a sizable user base. Third-party developers will want to leverage those hundreds of millions of potential customers for profit, and will thus scramble to build "Metro"-style apps to fill the Windows 8 app store. At least, that's how Microsoft hopes the process will unfold.

In order to sweeten the deal for developers, Microsoft will give them 80 percent of every dollar generated off an app's sale, provided the app in question earns more than $25,000. Less than that, and Microsoft will pay out 70 percent, a ratio that has become something of an industry standard.

Microsoft is also designing the store with businesses in mind.

"Enterprise developers have been asking about their path to market with Metro style apps," Ted Dworkin, partner program manager for the Windows Store, wrote in a Dec. 6 posting on the new Windows Store blog. "And, in turn, IT administrators have been asking about deployment and management scenarios, such as compliance and security."

Microsoft's way of fulfilling those enterprise needs, apparently, centers on giving businesses direct control over app deployment. "Enterprises can choose to limit access to the Windows Store catalog by their employees, or allow access but restrict certain apps," he wrote. "In addition, enterprises can choose to deploy Metro style apps directly to PCs, without going through the Store infrastructure."

Windows 8 beta will arrive in February 2012, with the final release later that year. Unlike previous versions of the operating system with their desktop-style interface, the upcoming operating system's start screen centers on a set of colorful, touchable tiles linked to applications--the better to port it onto tablets and other touch-centric form factors.

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