Microsoft lauds the Windows 8 app store

A sign of things to come for Xbox?

Microsoft's App Store challenger, the Windows Store, will offer developers more customers, more money and more freedom.

That was the aggressive message sent out during a Windows 8 preview presentation.

"We want to return as much money as we can into the hands of developers," declared speaker Antoine Leblond, corporate vice president of Windows web services. "And we want to provide the best economics of any platform."

On the Windows Store, developers keep 70 per cent of money made from app sales. That increases to 80 per cent, however, when the app reaches $25,000 made from sales. That stake is fixed from thereon out.

"It's not a small opportunity, it's not even a medium one or a large one. In fact, it's the most significant developer opportunity ever."

Antoine Leblond, corporate vice president, Windows web services

"It's not a small opportunity, it's not even a medium one or a large one," said Leblond. "In fact, it's the most significant developer opportunity ever."

Leblond touted research by Gartner that predicted 400 million x86 PCs would be shipped in the next 12 months. His point: the global reach of Windows is vast.

"This is where Windows shines," he said. "And where the opportunity for you, as a developer, is completely unprecedented."

"Every iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Android tablet and Mac sold in the last two years - I could combine all of these numbers together and it doesn't match what Windows has sold."

Leblond showed a slide that charted 500 million Windows sales, 247 million Android sales and 152 million iOS sales. The slide wasn't any more specific.

The Windows Store will be available in over 100 languages, and support local currency payments and settlements in the top 40 regional world markets (by GDP).

The Windows Store also won't restrict developers to certain business models. Leblond used a video to show deep eBay and Paypal integration, as well as support for subscription models.

"We're going to let you choose what you use. We're going to give you room to innovate, not just in your app, but also in your business model," Leblond said.

"Every iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Android tablet and Mac sold in the last two years - I could combine all of these numbers together and it doesn't match what Windows has sold."

Antoine Leblond

Microsoft will "expose" the Windows Store catalogue to search engines like Google so that apps can be indexed, allowing them to be "deep-linked" to.

"The best possible advertising for your app is your app itself," declared Leblond.

He explained: "What that means is anyone can create - if someone's writing a review of your app, they can have a link directly to the page for your app in their review. People can build top 10 lists and things like that."

There will be free trials of apps on the Windows Store. Whether this is a requirement for all apps we're not sure.

"We're going to open the store to customers when we release the beta of Windows 8," concluded Leblond, "and that's going to be in late February of 2012."

The Windows 8 Store should be considered a glimpse of what Xbox Live could one day offer. The new Xbox Live dashboard even uses the same Metro UI as Windows 8.

Convergence of the platforms under one OS/online roof will no doubt be a part of Microsoft's bigger picture. And given Xbox Live's current reputation as restrictively closed platform, this bodes well indeed.

The Windows 8, Windows Store presentation.

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