The Windows 10 app store doesn't have the same prestige as the equivalent digital marketplaces from Apple and Google. It lags behind its peers with less than half the apps found in the Apple App Store and about a quarter as many as the Google Play Store on Android phones and Chromebook tablets (via Statista). Now Microsoft is planning to give the Windows 10 app store a major renovation in an attempt to drive more shoppers to its virtual show floor.
The news of Microsoft taking a hammer and nail to its app store comes by the way of Zac Bowden at Windows Central, who says the store will have a modernized interface and include a new set of rules for what types of apps can be submitted. The goal? To make the store more accessible to users and devs.
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The Microsoft Store was late to the game and has struggled to play catch-up as developer interest remains low and the quality of the apps is hit-or-miss. The app itself is simple enough, adopting the tile shapes of the Windows 10 interface, but navigation can be sluggish and buggy.
The app store overhaul will be one project among the greater Sun Valley renovation coming to Windows 10. Described as a "reinvigorating" of the OS, Sun Valley will usher in a new Start Menu, Taskbar, Action Center and File Explorer, with interfaces taken from the now indefinitely delayed Windows 10X.
We don't have screenshots or images of the new Microsoft Store design but we can assume it will use the Fluent design language, which emphasizes bold colors, transparency, fluid motion and overlays.
We also know how the store will function thanks to the Windows Central report. It will supposedly continue to be updated on a monthly cadence and will make downloading and installing large apps and games easier than before. To encourage developers to bring their apps to the Store, Microsoft will let devs submit unpackaged Win32 apps, host apps and updates on their own networks, and use third-party commerce platforms within apps.
These changes will, in short, make it easier for developers to bring Win32 apps to the store, allow them to create revenue using their own methods (without Microsoft taking a cut), and give devs the ability to update their apps as they see fit. Moreover, Microsoft will reportedly bring more first-party apps to the store, including Teams, Office, Edge and Visual Studio.
The new Windows 10 store is slated to arrive this fall alongside the Sun Valley update. We can expect to hear more details at Build 2021, a digital conference set for May 25.