The Windows Store only benefits M$
I for one am very upset about this development of Microsoft having a "Windows Store" for Metro UI apps, as it is representing the beginning of the end of a 30-year tradition with the IBM-compatible PC where small developers could develop their own software themselves, and then sell their own software themselves. If you want to be able to distribute your own Windows 8 Metro UI apps you absolutely *have* to sell them through the Microsoft Windows Store-- Metro apps can't be installed independently without using the store, say through an installer downloaded from a website or from a bought CD-ROM or something like that. Now for most software companies, this probably isn't that huge of a deal (and maybe I'm wrong about that). Buying licenses for both Windows 8 and Expression Studio Ultimate as well as paying $49 to $99 per year to use the Windows 8 Software store is probably small potatoes to them so that they can produce Windows 8 Metro apps. That's great for them, but now look at my situation:
I am an (unfortunately currently out of work) web developer that also does little hobby programming projects on the side. You know, just like how people used to do little hobby programs on the side back during the days of the Commodore 64 or later QBasic. I was currently working on a small Windows Vista/7 sidebar gadget for the members of a small local social club that I am part of that would provide updates pertaining to the club on their desktops. This project is purely a hobby endeavor for the good of my club-- I was going to make the gadget downloadable to the members of my club for free, and the little gadget doesn't really have any use for anyone outside of the club. Luckily, this is facilitated by the fact that you can download and install Windows Sidebar gadgets from anywhere-- there is no need to go through Microsoft to distribute them, so I can get away with placing my custom gadget on either my website or my club's website and whoever wants it can freely download it, install it themselves, and use it.
With Windows 8 approaching on the horizon, it would be cool to be able to have my little project support that platform as well. From the Windows 8 demos that I have seen, it seems to me at least that the Metro UI's "Live Tiles" will be largely (if not entirely) replacing the Windows Vista/7 Sidebar Gadgets when it comes to having little desktop widgets that automatically notify you of things. However, since you *have* to use the Windows Store to distribute Windows 8 Metro apps, that creates a huge problem for me. First of all, the Windows Store is geared towards selling apps to the entire world+dog. My Metro app would be only for my local club, and wouldn't be of much use for anyone else. Because of this, it makes no sense to place it in the Windows Store for the world to see, and even worse I will have to pay Microsoft $49 a year for the privilege! Once again that cost may be small potatoes for some, but it is a real stick-in-the-eye for a guy who only wanted to distribute a free app to a small local group through a website to begin with and is being forced to use the Windows Store!
I realize that Apple iOS developers are already extremely used to this sort of crud, but as a developer for the so-called "open system" that the IBM PC is supposed to be, I'm not. I would prefer to write and distribute my own software however I darn well choose to, just as PC developers have always been able to do. Sure, you can still freely develop and distribute software for the "old" Windows 7-style mouse and keyboard UI in Windows 8 for the time being, but with the direction that Microsoft is heading how much longer will it be before all Windows apps for either of Window's UI's have to be distributed through their Windows Store? Will that day come as soon as Windows 9? With Windows 8 SP1? I shudder to find out!