Now we’re seeing some of the fruits of that change—Microsoft has announced that major third-party apps like Zoom, Discord, Adobe Reader, the VLC media player, and even the LibreOffice suite are all now available in the Microsoft Store for people using the Windows 11 Insider Preview builds. Web apps like Wikipedia, Reddit, and Tumblr are also available. These PWAs look and work just like the regular websites but can easily be pinned to Start or the Taskbar and can display notification badges and a few other benefits that make them feel a bit more like desktop apps.
Microsoft also says it will allow other app stores into the Microsoft Store, starting with Amazon and the Epic Games Store. These will be available “over the next few months.” (When support for Amazon’s Android apps are added to Windows 11 sometime after the official launch, those apps will still be searchable from within the Microsoft Store itself.) If you don’t want to (or can’t) install Windows 11 on your PC, Microsoft says that the new Microsoft Store and the new apps in it will also be coming to Windows 10 “in the coming months.” Windows 11’s rollout officially begins on October 5.
Credit where credit is due – these are good moves, and shows that at least at this point in time, Microsoft is not interested in using the Microsoft Store as a stick. As long as their store policies remain like this, and they don’t lock down sideloading, they’re on the right side of this divide.
Let’s just hope it’s not a trap.
If microsoft resort to a stick strait away, most developers will reject it outright. It would be windows 8 app store all over again, which was not competitive AND lacked critical mass. Microsoft does not want a repeat of that, They first need to build critical mass before turning the screws on developers. If they can get most of the windows software market by aggressively pursuing market share instead of profits, both users and developer will start using it and taking it for granted. If microsoft intends to use a stick, that would be the time to do it and not before. Because once microsoft controls the users, then it has strong leverage to use against developers to charge outrageous fees like the other app stores “Oh, you don’t like our fees and want to leave? Ha, you’d loose most of your customers and revenue who’ve migrated to our store. Like it or not you need us to reach them”.
They wouldn’t be so on-the-nose of course, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this were their long term plan.