When Microsoft announced that Windows 10 would be the last version of its OS it was obvious that it was taking a different approach to its best-known product. For home users that has been a good thing; no more expensive updates when a new version ships, just an ongoing and steady upgrade to the OS as time goes on. In many ways, it mimics Apple’s approach to macOS.
At this year’s Build conference (opens in new tab), Microsoft’s developer event, its CEO Satya Nadella made some remarks that confirm the mix of rumor and leaks we’ve seen for several months now. Nadella’s keynote included some words from him about what’s next for Windows and how it would change things for the better.
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As reported by Windows Central (opens in new tab), Nadella said, "Soon we will share one of the most significant updates to Windows of the past decade to unlock greater economic opportunity for developers and creators. I've been self-hosting it over the past several months and I'm incredibly excited about the next generation of Windows. Our promise to you is this: We will create more opportunity for every Windows developer today and welcome every creator who is looking for the most innovative, new, open platform to build and distribute and monetize applications. We look forward to sharing more very soon."
Nadella is clearly talking here about the change to how Microsoft handles its app ecosystem. Since Windows 10 launched the company has tried to get people to use the Microsoft Store, which is included with the OS. The problem has been that it’s been a sluggish mess. It’s not hyperbole to say that it is one of the three worst things in Windows 10 (the other two are its jumble of ancient UI elements and its godawful search).
When the new version of Windows launches Microsoft is aiming at getting far more developers to use the Microsoft Store and it’s seemingly happy to make concessions for that to happen. Currently apps from the store can only be built in the “modern” Universal Windows Platform (UWP) which is used across Microsoft products like Xbox, HoloLens and various IoT devices. The plan, however, is to allow developers to distribute any app on the platform, including the more common Win32 applications.
Starting in August Microsoft will cut the commission it takes on store purchases down to 12%. Companies can also opt not to use Microsoft’s purchasing system, and use their own system, which means they pay nothing to Microsoft. This allows companies like Adobe to sell subscriptions via its website, rather than fork over a percentage of its profit to Microsoft.
These changes should help make the Microsoft Store more viable, to some extent. It’s reasonable to suggest that it needs a massive overhaul in general to be a place people want to go for apps. And it does give some assurance to users that their apps will be virus-free.
With a bunch of visual updates also due there’s some exciting stuff on the horizon for Windows 10. We’re keen to see some of the legacy interfaces removed from the OS, but it’s unclear if that’s happening in this update, or perhaps later down the line.