Opinion Brief

Can the Windows 8 app store take on Apple?

Microsoft makes several concessions in an effort to woo app developers to its Apple-challenging Windows Store

This week, Microsoft unveiled its "answer to Apple's App Store." (Watch the presentation here.) The new Windows Store will launch alongside the Windows 8 operating system in February, giving Windows users the opportunity to buy games, music, and apps from a desktop storefront. Of course, an app store is only as good as the apps it offers, and the developers it can attract to design those apps. That's why Microsoft is offering developers a bigger slice of the pie than Apple, which gives designers 70 percent of revenue. Windows Store developers will get an 80 percent share if their app brings in more than $25,000. If they don't reach that threshold, developers pocket the standard 70 percent. Could Windows Store really challenge Apple's App Store dominance?

It doesn't do enough for developers: "Microsoft really needed to go further to differentiate itself from Apple," says Rip Empson at TechCrunch. It's nice that it gives developers a bigger share if they pass the $25,000 threshold, but most small apps won't make that much money. Still, a central place for Microsoft users to buy and download apps is a "huge step forward for PC users' experience," and god knows the company could use the revenue the new app store will generate.
"Microsoft dangles carrot in front of developers with windows store economics, but will it be enough?"

Actually, developers should really like this: "Microsoft has fired a significant shot across the bow of Apple and its App Store franchise," says Nicholas Kolakowski at eWeek. Not only is it giving developers a big cut for successful products, it's also giving them control of in-app advertising and a more straightforward approval process for getting apps into the store in the first place. That's a clear "swipe at Apple, whose application-approval process has attracted criticism from some developers as too opaque."
"Microsoft's Windows 8 App Store will challenge Apple, Google"

And Microsoft's customer base dwarfs Apple's: "Microsoft has made its forthcoming platform more appealing than the competition in several ways, at least on paper," says Thomas Claburn at InformationWeek. But perhaps the most important stat: Windows owns 92 percent of the desktop PC operating system market, compared to Apple's 6 percent. With all those Windows users, there's potential for a lucrative payday for app developers.
"Windows 8 Store: 8 ways it beats Apple"

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