Windows 11 is scheduled to launch next Tuesday, October 5, and with that release comes a host of changes Microsoft wants to make to its venerable operating system. We're talking a more centered, rounded design, new features for managing screen real estate, a new Start menu, and a revamped Microsoft Store with support for a broader variety of apps.
The company got the ball rolling on this Microsoft Store revamp back in June, when it gave us a preview of a visually redesigned Microsoft Store app for Windows that offers developers more freedom to publish apps to the store and monetize them. Developers can now publish all sorts of apps (including Win32 and web apps) to the Microsoft Store, and if they have their own commerce platforms (that is, in-app purchases) Microsoft won't take a cut.
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And now the company confirmed via blog post today (Sept. 28) that this revamped Microsoft Store will launch alongside Windows 11 on October 5; it also will start showing up for Windows 10 users in the months ahead.
Microsoft also announced that it will allow third-party app storefronts like the Epic Games Store (of Apple vs Epic Games fame) or the Amazon Appstore to be listed and discoverable in the Microsoft Store for Windows, meaning they'll have download pages just like any other app would. Epic and Amazon have both committed to launching their app storefronts within the Microsoft Store sometime in the next few months, and it seems likely we'll see other PC app storefronts like Steam show up amid the digital shelves of the Microsoft Store as well.
This is all part of Microsoft's big push to get more people using the Microsoft Store by making it easier for developers to distribute their work there, and it seems to be working: the Microsoft Store has recently gained apps for Discord, Tiktok, and VLC as well as browsers like Opera and Yandex, which should be nothing but good news for Windows users.
Sure, this is all a bit late and you probably already have these apps if you need them: one of the primary perks of having a Windows PC connected to the Internet is that you can download pretty much any program you want, regardless of whether it's available in the Microsoft Store or any app store. But that doesn't mean Windows' built-in app store has carte blanche to be as abstruse and unhelpful as it's been.
It would be great to see the Microsoft Store on Windows grow into something more people actually want to use. Opening it up to more apps is a great way to do that, and it would be nice to see Microsoft welcome more big names into its storefront by the time Windows 11 launches next week.
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Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.