While we at Tom’s Guide generally like Windows 10 (when it’s not sabotaging itself), the Microsoft Store is a different story. Microsoft’s built-in app store is a clunky, unintuitive experience for both users and developers. Microsoft seems keenly aware of this, however and appears to have a major overhaul in the works for later this year.
This story comes from sources close to Windows Central, a reliable news site for information on Microsoft’s popular OS. Since the information in question isn’t directly from Microsoft, it’s fair to take it with a grain of salt — even if it’s accurate now, it could change before the end of the year. Still, the proposed changes sound reasonable, and in line with Microsoft’s overall strategy of making Windows 10 more intuitive.
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If the initiative succeeds, the Microsoft Store could create a one-stop shop for finding and buying Windows software, rather than relying on a thousand different websites.
The Microsoft Store revamp may be part of a larger Windows 10 update called Sun Valley, which is tipped to debut toward the end of 2021. This update is set to change the look and feel of many built-in Windows apps.
In particular, the Microsoft Store will apparently get a new layout, a new interface, new icons and new animations. This would mark a big change from the store’s current “static images on a white background” appearance, which looks a little dated.
Windows Central reported that the redesigned Microsoft Store will also have new features added monthly, and improved stability for big file downloads. At present, trying to download big files from the Store (games, for example) is a slow process, often fraught with error messages.
Microsoft also looks set to entice more developers into using the Microsoft Store to distribute software, rather than their own individual websites. In the redesigned Microsoft Store, developers will, reportedly, be able to submit ubiquitous Win32 applications, rather than having to package them as cumbersome MSIX files.
The bigger news, however, is that Microsoft will reportedly allow developers to employ their own content delivery systems and commerce platforms in Store apps. This would mean that Microsoft won’t have to act as an intermediary for updates and in-app purchases — and, as such, developers would then get to keep all of their profits from microtransactions. If this arrangement is true, it would be an industry first.
To spearhead the debut of the refreshed Microsoft Store in action, Windows Central reported that Redmond will make popular first-party programs available through it. This would include Microsoft Office, Teams, Edge and Visual Studio — all of which currently have their own delivery platforms, and only tangential connections to the Store.
While a lot could change between now and the Sun Valley update, a revamped Microsoft Store sounds like a promising idea. Microsoft has already demonstrated the power of a unified interface with its Xbox apps; Windows 10 seems like the next logical frontier.