Windows Store will launch alongside the public beta of Windows 8 and offer free apps that can be installed on five devices total.
As previously reported, Microsoft held an event in San Francisco to unveil the Windows Store app market launching with the Windows 8 Public Beta in February. It will offer Metro-style applications categorized like most other app store offerings using labels like Entertainment, Finance, Spotlight (AKA featured apps) and Games. Many of these apps will have time-limited trial periods ranging from 24 hours to 30 days, and other free apps will take advantage of in-app purchasing.
"We designed the landing page to push compelling apps to the surface," said Ted Dworkin, Partner Program Manager for the Windows Store, in a blog. "We use categories to help organize the apps—the latest, most popular, and fast rising apps all have dedicated lists surfaced here. You’ll see personalized app recommendations and also topic pages that promote apps related to editorial themes, helping surface what would otherwise be hidden gems."
Previously one of the big concerns for developers about the store was how Microsoft planned to compete with Apple in regards to revenue sharing. Antoine Leblond, Corporate Vice President of Windows Web Services, laid those worries to rest, announcing that new apps will start at 70 percent (Microsoft gets 30 percent like Apple). However, once the app makes $25,000 in sales, the number jumps up to 80-percent for the rest of the app's lifespan.
The new Windows Store seemingly paves the way for Microsoft to control how content is installed on Windows 8-powered devices. As previously reported, the storefront will be the only place consumers can purchase and download applications to the new Metro-themed touch-friendly environment. This is a dramatic change from Microsoft's previous stance with Windows 7 and later versions of letting customers purchase and install software from anyone and anywhere. However Microsoft is taking this "controlled" route to reduce the risk of malware, software bugs and other problems typically associated with PC software.
That said, Windows 8 apps will be served up only within the storefront installed within Windows 8 itself. However, Microsoft will also provide a web-based version for browsing only, currently dubbed Windows Store Preview. It will be indexed by search engines and list the store's complete library of apps. Links listed in search engines will bring consumers to the online catalog which will thus prompt users to open the Windows Store app if they're viewing from a Windows 8 PC.
As previously reported, the Windows Store will open its doors in February, but it won't offer any retail apps. "All apps during the Beta period will be free apps – we won’t be supporting paid apps on our transaction platform during Beta," Dworkin reports. "We will hold off on the release of platform transaction support in a future milestone. Beta will help test and reinforce our scale model. It’s a feedback opportunity regarding our onboarding and certification process, and a chance for developers to get early feedback on their Metro style apps."
To get a full preview of the new Windows Store, check out the Windows Store for Developers blog here.