Microsoft promises developers a bigger bite of the Apple with its Windows 8 app store

By Tom Warren, on 7th Dec 11 1:22 am with 58 Comments

Windows Store announcement for Windows 8

Microsoft detailed more of its Windows Store plans for Windows 8 on Tuesday.

Windows chief Steven Sinofsky held a private event for developers in San Francisco on Tuesday afternoon. All Things Digital’s Ina Fried live blogged the event. Windows Web Services VP Antoine Leblond took to the stage first and promised a better opportunity for developers. “We’re going to give you a bigger bite of the apple,” he said, promising a better return than any other app store for developers. “It’s the biggest and most significant developer opportunity ever,” he added. Microsoft also talked up its trial mode for apps. The software maker allow Windows Phone developers to offer trials of apps which can then be converted into fully paid apps. Leblond demonstrated a trial of cut the rope being converted from trial to paid without the loss of a game save. “We’re super excited to have this app on Windows,” said Leblond.

Microsoft is also planning to localize the Windows Store in all the languages that Windows is localized in, around 100 different languages. The software maker will also provide payment options for 230 markets and the top 40 markets will have local pricing. Business models will be different to rivals said Leblond. “We’re going to take a different approach,” he said. Developers can take advantage of in-app purchases and trial apps features but they won’t be forced to. Microsoft will take 30% of app revenue until an app makes $25,000. The software maker will then take just 20% of sales after the $25,000 limit.

Microsoft previously detailed its Windows Store efforts at its BUILD developer event earlier this year. The Windows Store is a Metro style application. The application is built on the same WinRT APIs that developers can use themselves across their Windows 8 Metro apps. Windows Store takes advantage of HTML5 and JavaScript to provide end users with a portal for secure, tested applications. Microsoft includes a spotlight section for the top Metro apps in the same way it does on Windows Phone. All applications include a brief overview, full detail page and reviews. The overview section will indicate the supported platform for the application (x86/64/ARM).

One of the more interesting aspects of the Store is the ability for websites to advertise their Windows 8 Metro application for download on their own site. Websites with an application will include a button for end users to launch or download the application. The launch surface will push the user straight into the Metro Windows Store experience and offer them the ability to download or trial the application. If the application is already installed then it will simply work as a launch surface for the existing app.

Image Credit: WordPress co-founder Matt

  • http://www.techblitzblog.blogspot.com Daniel Herzig

    Is it just me or is anyone unsatisfied with the lack of unified color scheme? Windows Phone has one color and that colors all your tiles. In Windows , there are all these different tile colors- it doesn’t look as good, in my opinion. I guess I’ll have to wait to find out…

    • Anonymous

      I like it better so far.

    • http://www.techblitzblog.blogspot.com Daniel Herzig

      Maybe it will be customizable? Odds are against it though, as it is such a specific and minor detail.

    • Anonymous

      One thing I noticed is that the store icon is different colors in different shots (I think I saw it on TheVerge).

      It may just be the build though that changed the color.

    • Anonymous

      I agree. The thing I like lest about windows phone is the single color theme. I want my tile with pictures and animations. I don’t want a red tile with a static e for explorer. I want a bing home page that changes.

    • Anonymous

      I’m with you…. I like the idea of a theme color for tiles (as a choice). But I think I’m also going to set my Start Screen background to black to match my phone

    • http://www.techblitzblog.blogspot.com Daniel Herzig

      Yeah, if I were to get a Windows 8 tablet, that’s what I would do. I mean, I absolutely love Metro on WP7, but on Windows 8, it kinds of feels like a watered down version of lovable Metro.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah. And another great idea from Metro on Windows Phone is missed as well: panorama apps where you can simply swipe to filter the content.

    • http://www.techblitzblog.blogspot.com Daniel Herzig

      tNO: I guess the panoramas aren’t needed for a screen that large, but it is part of Metro’s identity. It’s just offputting

    • Anonymous

      Well, the panoramas work great on the Xbox. Even the new dashboard is in some way a panorama styled app. I’m curious why they didn’t make use of this concept in Windows 8.

      I’m also missing the very cool realistic 3D feedback when you tap on buttons on Windows Phone. I hope they manage to implement this into the beta.

    • Anonymous

      I’m actually glad they didn’t do a unified color scheme. I always found windows phone to be a bit boring if all the tiles are the same color with a plain background (just personal opinion). I believe they wanted a more colorful and customizable appearance with W8. I wouldn’t be surprised if they move in this direction for the next version of windows phone (different wallpapers on the home screen yay lol).  

      Also it will make finding apps a little easier. for example if you are trying to find the Adobe reader tile you know you are looking for something red and that it will always be that color. Or the yellow ebay tile.

    • Guest

      Metro generally can look a bit flat. I like the lighting and border effects that the desktop Zune player uses in quickplay. Visually it’s a lot more interesting and refined. The W8 DP looks more like Fischer Price.

    • Guest

      Yeah, the visual clues in Z qp and the overall look is very well done. Great with a mouse and obviously even better with touch. And I would so love the history tile collection. In Windows 8 you’ve got all that screen real estate, so why not allow history in start and app views?

  • Anonymous

    Now that’s an interesting concept of reducing MS’s cut to 20%. Very enticing indeed.

    • Gtmax500

      It really makes you want to build a better app so you not only get paid more for the downloads but you get paid more because ms takes a smaller cut. I think it is a very good strategy for ms and the devs. Its a win win, win. ms, devs, and the consumer for having better apps to download

  • Anonymous

    are all those apps in the Win8 App Store that he showed off actually working with Win 8 now ??

    • Seth_p

      Yeah, those are all real apps. The big software vendors usually get to play around ahead of time so they can give feedback. When the app store does open for us smaller ISV’s, the store wont look so “bare.” :P

    • Anonymous

      You can’t access the Windows Store from the Developer Preview. If that is your question.
      ;)

    • Anonymous

      :) no, i was asking if those apps will be in the Beta store

  • Anonymous

    If I were a developer this would by my platform of choice.

    • http://twitter.com/nn_hung Nguyen Ngoc Hung

      True story bro ;)

    • Anonymous

      If I was a developer I would port my app to all the platforms. If it’s a good app, it should sell well in all the stores. I’m curious how hard it is to port to the three major OS.

    • Ryanllhunt

      Its not easy. You have to learn 3 very different styled APIs, languages, and development environments. Then you have to have the manpower to write the platform specific code, link it to the cross platform code base (If its even possible to write cross platform code between your selected platforms). Test for each platform then meet the certification standards for each application market. Good luck and don’t forget to make the game fun!!!

    • Anonymous

      Making the game fun is already there. If the app is popular, you already did your job developing it. From your comment it seems porting the app is hard, but how expensive? Do developers who have popular apps on ios think that they won’t recoup the cost on the other platforms? Obviously for free apps, like banking apps, the cost will be an issue.

    • Guest

      I have experience with Mac OS X and Windows platform and I can tell you Mac OS X application development is somewhere Microsoft was before 1995. It’s so outdated.

    • Justfortherecord

      Building apps for IOS  I completely agree.. Microsoft is the Gold Standard when it comes to development.

  • http://twitter.com/nn_hung Nguyen Ngoc Hung

    This will be great. Developers should embrace their chances. Oh by the way. It’s a market of about half a billion customers. Where is the “just 0.99$” :(Still things are not clear whether WP apps can run on Windows 8. I saw bunch of WP games in the store at BUILD :)

    • Anonymous

      I would not think that WP apps will run as is on W8; if nothing else I would expect that they would need to be re-formatted to run on the larger formats that W8 will support, and recompiled for WinRT.
      I would also expect (as a end user) W8 apps to be more robust, more powerful than their WP counterparts.

    • Ashley Walker

      WP7 Apps can run on Win8 as long as the developer re-compiles and changes about 2 lines of code (I think from memory, these are the declared libaries…) and as Hardrock1a says, some of the apps will need to be redesigned slightly for the larger screens and different screen ratios

    • Seth_p

      They outlined WP7 at //build conference. You won’t be able to straight port your WP7 apps because of Silverlight, although the fundamental changes are very basic to convert your application onto Windows 8. All the knowledge is very straightforward unless you’re more of a hobbyist.

  • Anonymous

    It should be noted that the embedded video is from the Build conference.

    • Anonymous

      Embedded video is from todays event, it was uploaded to YouTube December 6, 2011

    • Guest

      tNo tends to get a lot of things wrong.

    • Anonymous

      The video was changed.

  • Anonymous

    “Every IOS and Every Android Device Sold Over The Last Two Years Still Not Equal To What Windows Has Sold Over The Last Two Years.”

    Somebody woke up the sleeping giant, Game Over

    • Guest

      Forget the number for a second. What’s the trend? Yeah, that’s what I thought…

    • Anonymous

      Don’t want to forget the number. A developer isn’t looking 10 years into the future. He cares what he can sell this year and next year, because most like in the 3rd year something new will come along and he will need to develope a new app. Right now, there is nothing bigger than windows 7 and when windows 8 comes out it will out sell mac and ios and android. PCs aren’t going anywhere for a while and no one is bigger than widows on PC.

    • Devon Garner

      The trend is that Windows will sell millions and miilllliiions of copies and be on about a billion machines before the end of 2012.

    • Guest

      And Android will get there a couple of years after that, having started two decades later.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sebastian-Swann/100001887920756 Sebastian Swann

      @f5496fc378cd26c2f7f37cf455410910:disqus 
      Windows is already there from like 10 years. Add 450 milions of Windows 7 to Windows XP and Vista and you will get more than billion. I don’t even mention all those pirate versions.

    • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

      @f5496fc378cd26c2f7f37cf455410910:disqus 
      I don’t see that happening.  People act like Android is so popular when really it’s just an illusion of popularity.  Android sells for the same reason Windows has sold so well, they’re sold EVERYWHERE and are cheap.  Even on high-end hardware, user-experience suffers because of Androids poor coding.

      Things look a lot better with ICS, so perhaps they’re on the right track, but they’re target market is everyone, and when you do that you have to cater to the lowest common denominator.  I’m basically saying the average consumer is pretty stupid when it come to tech and this is why Apple, despite their premium price, has been so successful with the iPhone.  It’s easy for use and offers a smooth and consistent interface.  This is why people love their iPhones.  This is why people love their Windows Phones.  I don’t know anyone who lovers their Android phone beyond the honeymoon period (btw, I don’t know any Nexus users, which I hear offers a much better experience).

    • http://josedmorales.net Josè Daniel

      Which I’m glad!

  • Anonymous

    Cut the Rope?  Really?  WTF why isn’t it on Windows Phone?

    • http://twitter.com/jasondcastro Jason De Castro

      it is

    • Anonymous

      Maybe you are thinking of Burn the Rope. 

  • Anonymous

    This is all fine and well but I would like to see what the app developers think?  Do they like this or would they rather try to make more money volume sales on the Apple store or Android store?  I really would like to know how the developers view this.

    • Anonymous

      There will be plenty on volume sales on windows 8. The developers will develope for w8 and hopefully port the apps for WP8

    • Seth_p

      I think this is great, Microsoft isn’t adding many restrictions you typically find in your mobile space. There was a snippet from AllthingsD saying Chrome Web App store only takes 5% but these are very different ecosystems. On Win8 I’m able to package some complex applications with an entirely different design experience (consumers will gravitate to this… negative or positive. People will wan’t to see it!). Volume sales will be fine on Win8 – but developers like myself are jumping the gun to make sure we have rich apps. When consumers get a copy of Win8 our apps will be the first to showcase! First impressions are especially important in software, so I think you’ll see a lot of great creative apps. Oh and Microsoft developer tools in my experience has been excellent compared to other platforms (comparing iOS and Android).

      I just hope Microsoft’s OEM partners actually do their job in creating great hardware for consumers of all ranges.

  • http://twitter.com/warex3d warex3D

    This guy is really good speaking.

  • http://twitter.com/pierrerv Pierre Venescar

    Can’t wait.

  • Pigeon_Collector

    “a bigger bite of the Apple”? – I like the pun^^

  • http://profiles.google.com/carlosrfonseca Carlos Ribeiro da Fonseca

    So… “Store” instead of “Marketplace” as the ones for Windows Phone and Xbox and Zune. Why? Consistency anyone? Or are the “marketplaces” going to be renamed “Stores”? Or is the Windows Store going to replace them?

    So… Only a handful of countries in the “developer country of residence list”, way way smaller than the one for Windows Phone. Why? Just because? I can buy apps in my native language but no one actually living here can sell them. Are they going to magically develop themselves or do we have to move to another country?

    One would think that after the bumpy ride that Windows Phone has been, after finally fixing most of what was wrong with the initial OS and Marketplace they’d get this one right the first time (it was easy, just do what the WP7 are already doing) and yet they seem determined to repeat the same mistakes.

    Also, no word on whether those already registered as Windows Phone developers can also sell apps on the Windows Store. Not that it matters much really, because for some reason I can develop and sell Windows Phone apps but not Windows 8.

  • Anonymous

    Scrolling looks still unnatural in Windows 8 :s

    • Seth_p

      Add a nice multi-touch trackpad and you should be good to go. Let’s hope OEM partners don’t fail us. If not then yeah, it’s going to be ‘awkward’

    • Anonymous

      It seems to accelerate on it’s own even when your finger is already off the screen :s

  • http://doctorwhofan98.wordpress.com/ doctorwhofan98

    It would be great if non-Metro apps were available in the store as well…

  • http://www.youtube.co.uk/illage2 illage2

    @Jarrichvdv:disqus WixosTrix

    Your bascially saying that people are apprenltly “Stupid” when it comes to tech. No your wrong. They are not stupid enough to spend £400+ (more if it’scContract) on Apple’s iPhone when they can get another phone cheaper.

    As for you saying people not loving android beyond the honeymoon peroid, you’re wrong again. I love my Galaxy S2, The Android OS is a damn lot more stable, and has never ever crashed or failed on me once. When I had used my iPhone/iPod touch the OS would crash constantly, this is without a jailbreak.

    If anyone’s coding is poor, it is Apple’s.  If they can’t stop Apps from crashing or slowing the phone down then it’s no wonder Android has been doing so well.

    My sister was an Apple fan, but she had nothing but problems with her iPhone 4. She has not once had a problem with her Android Tablet.

    Anyway, as for this Article, I hope that Microsoft doesn’t take a massive cut from the developers when they host apps on their App store. It would encourage more developers, it may even convert some of them to migrate from the Apple apps store. I am very interested in seeing what Apps we’ll have access to.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone notice how fast that Lenovo touchscreen is flipping threw the AppStore pages when he touched the screen?

    Like the Apple pun… Good advertising if they did it right. Can see the commercials now if they did it right.