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back to article Microsoft seeks to woo developers with Windows 8 store

Microsoft is looking to woo application developers to its Windows 8 software store with more flexible licensing than usual, and a purported larger user base. Speaking at an event in San Francisco, Antoine Leblond, vice president of Windows Web Services, said that Microsoft would allow developers much greater flexibility than …

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This should be interesting

I can't wait to see how people react to this. Will it be the end of in-store boxed software?

Pricing of apps will be also interesting. And then there's the issue of the end of sideloading, and having to give Microsoft your credit card to purchase Windows software...

And what will the channel partners say? They sell software too.

And of course, antitrust issues.

Hm....

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Flame

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!

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Anonymous Coward

What ?

"I can't wait to see how people react to this. Will it be the end of in-store boxed software?"

No but it's already waining anyway. You can buy most major bits of software online anyway, in fact the last software I bought in a box was Windows 98.

"...Microsoft your credit card to purchase Windows software..."

So how is this different to Amazon, eBay, Apple, Samsung,Dave's online bazaar?

"And what will the channel partners say? They sell software too."

You point is? You can buy MS software online aready, as well as most other bits of software. Last time I looked Channel partners don't sell fart apps and aqarium screensavers.

"And of course, antitrust issues."

What? No really lost me there, Maybe if you stop playing keyword bingo and read the f'ing article.

They are ALLOWING in product adverts, they are ALLOWING private subscriptions. Two things Apple don't. So if anyone would be accused of anticomptetivie behaviour (more likely than an antitrust suits), then it would be Apple, not MS.

To me seems they have got the balance right, but it remains to be seen.

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Go

I actually think this arrangement will be better for "indie" developers. The smaller developers often can't afford to stamp CD's and develop boxed editions. Yes the web is an option, but if it becomes popular you go over your bandwidth cap and end up with big charges, probably more than the fifty or so dollars that Microsoft wants.

Outsourcing your distribution and marketing to Microsoft, good idea I think...

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@Mikel

"And of course, antitrust issues."

That's the big one. Canonical has one store that they control, but you could create your own I guess. They are a tiny fraction of a sub-1% market, so no big issue there.

Apple have one store, you cannot add you own (without rooting etc). They are around a 5-6% share (more on mobile) so no huge issue there (even on mobile, there is competition from 'droid).

MS is circa 90% of the market. If they do not allow other stores on to their platform, then I could see that being a major issue for the regulators and rightly so.

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@AC (why is it always a coward?)

Apple market share - ~6%

MS market share - ~90%

Guess which one is the effective monopoly and has to be regulated?

Not that this makes Apple's actions correct, just not a matter for regulators (yet).

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@Hoagiebot

"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."

You mean like an RSS feed? I don't mean to be rude, but it reads like you are solving a problem that has already been solved. If you are doing for yucks and to learn, that's cool (I do it myself) but a more widely used app will have more features, be more stable and less of a burden to support. Just join a team and get going. Of course, maybe yours is better than all the others, in which case release that sucker as free software! Consider it a job hunting ploy. :)

"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"

Well, don't expect me to download it. I want to see the downloads signed, md5 hashes etc. I want to be sure what I download it what I expect to download. Which it why I use the repositories and don't download random stuff off random sites. Way too dangerous.

Unfortunately Windows is so far behind the curve that Windows users are conditioned to think this is "normal" (and that every piece of software needs to run its own update mechanism, rather than rely on a central one). Thus the culture shock when some more resilient and secure comes along. Not that repositories are perfect, just less bad.

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Yeah right

A large userbase - of desktops and laptops. I have difficulty imagining tho owners of those machines paying any significant money for what these "Metro-styled apps" can offer.

Why can't Microsoft see that the PC is not a bloody phone...?

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Boffin

Just...

... because a huge user base value touchy stuffs, cool wall-papers, voice control and what is sold as "technology" by today techno-marketing giants.

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End of store boxed software?

Well, I still see a role for other software retailers eg Amazon.

How else will be still be able to pick up a 'Black Friday' bargain. With MS taking 20-30% what incentive is there for makers to 'have a sale'?

I got Photoshop Elements 10 from Amazon on Black Friday for £26.00(approx). Those days will be long gone if the only way of buying software is via the OS makers storefront.

If MS tried that then they had better look out for a slew of lawsuits and investigations. After all, they still have a virtual monolopy of the desktop don't they. Making their 'app storefron' the only way to purchase 'certified Windows 8' apps will make that stranglehold all that much tighter.

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"If MS tried that then they had better look out for a slew of lawsuits and investigations. After all, they still have a virtual monolopy of the desktop don't they. Making their 'app storefron' the only way to purchase 'certified Windows 8' apps will make that stranglehold all that much tighter."

Oh come one, the others are allowed to do it but if Microsoft try we will all sue! WTF?

If this was considered anti-competitive then why have Apple not been investigated? Google? Jeeze even Ubuntu has a store as far as I'm aware.

You will still be able to install apps without the store on your desktop, same as Apple. The store is just more convenient for the way the industry is headed. Their are 3rd party stores for Android and I hope that MS will also go this route.

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Making something out of nothing?

Two major digital distribution services (operating very similar revenue sharing schemes) don't appear to have ran into any of the problems you mention with seasonal sales like Black Friday. One of those is also ran by Microsoft (Xbox Live), the other by Valve (Steam).

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Hmm...wha?

Oh, MS rocking it like it's 3 years ago. Or longer if one considers the various package systems that have been around for over a decade.

Having used Windows 8 (yes, really, the dev version is downloadable) I have reached the same conclusions for it as for Gnome3, Unity etc. Pretty, nice on a handheld device, utterly terrible on a desktop. The other issue with Win8 is that if you want to do anything "proper" you have to leave Metro and the transition to the knobbled desktop is dreadful.

Why the companies/teams feel they need a "one size fits all" policy beats the hell out of me. Different devices, different use cases - they're different!

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IS THIS THE BEGINING OF THE END.......

of APPLE??????

I don't think soooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!

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Trollface

Now.. Only if other operating systems had some kind of central repository where all the apps for that OS can be easily found and downloaded.

MS, You've done it again.. Innovation FTW!

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Can't see this sticking, personally

Likely scenarios:

1. The Metro bit dies completely by Windows 9. Oh, did you develop software for this? So sorry.

OR

2. A rethink whereby Metro apps can be delivered by normal channels as well as by the App Store.

I would say

1. 70%

2. 29%

It actually working as currently conceived, about 1%

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Anonymous Coward

Current tax on Windows s/w is ...

... ZERO.

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Anonymous Coward

Store margin?

If you think 20-30% is bad, consider that most retail outlets will take a margin of at least 50%, do a lot less to get exposure for your product, and not necessarily pay all that reliably either. It's quite incorrect to think of this as an extra 'tax' on your software purchases - it may well become cheaper (and work better for developers too).

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JDX
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@Simon Davidson

I agree - $49/99 is a tiny fee even for a 1-man startup. You will pay more than that to get e-commerce in your website.

What I don't understand is why MS want 30% of sales - if they really want to get developers on board why not run it at cost, take 10% or even give the first X sales free.

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Windows 8-capable OS systems

Looks like I'll have to develop for Linux from now on, after all it can run on anything that can run Win8 (unless they manage to pull off the secure boot lockin) *and* almost everything that can't run Win8. Thanks for the hint Microsoft ;)

Or perhaps I should just ignore this steaming pile of over optimistic BS.

Given how long it took getting Win7 installs ahead of XP, we'll be dealing with whatever 'screw the devs' stunt M$ pull in Win10 before that installed base matches this bullshit. Faced with the dumbed down Win8 interface and the wholesale backwards compatibility breakage if you use Metro, it's going to be very easy to lose users to any other equally dumbed down OS along the way.

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FAIL

Microsoft is also running a competition...

"Microsoft also is running a competition among developers for the best apps for the launch"

Maybe an app to make the damn thing useable on a desktop? Currently, the 64 bit dev version is unusable, not to mention it looks shite.

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@Paul Shirley

I think MS are targeting Win8 predominantly at the mobile world... not necessarily even that bothered about desktop take-up while W7 is doing nicely.

As far as desktop use, I think a lot depends how easy they make it to toggle regular/metro.

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Possibly not as bad as it looks at first sight

From http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsstore/archive/2011/12/06/announcing-the-new-windows-store.aspx

" In addition, enterprises can choose to deploy Metro style apps directly to PCs, without going through the Store infrastructure. For Windows 8 Beta, IT administrators can use group policy to permit Metro style app installations, as long as the apps are signed by trusted publishers and the machines are joined to the domain. Then the IT admin can use powershell commandlets to manage those Metro-style apps on Windows 8. "

So, if I understand correctly, B2B developers can avoid going through the store (providing the businesses they are selling to have IT adminstrators to go through this faff). B2C ones have to go through the store, essentially?

Whilst this is clearly all irksome nonsense which I can't see working, this does I think increase the plausiblity somewhat.

Though I think they are missing rule 42 'when you are number 3 in a field of 2, you are not in a good position to dictate terms'.

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Microsoft has so much going for it

Like

How Windows 8 interface is based on a model that consumers have rejected.

Thinking that by sticking "Windows" on a product and people will rush out to buy it (look how well it worked with Windows Phone).

Thinking people buy Windows because they want Windows, they buy a platform and all they care is how it interacts with them and not what OS it is running. Windows 7 on the PC is selling because is the only choice they have when they buy a new PC.

Thinking most people want a system where they can curl up at night and work on a nice spreadsheet or write a long report while sitting in their backyard. My guess is 90% or more of the tablet users are surfing the web, reading content (books/mags/..) or playing a simple game. What does Windows 8 bring to the game that the established, dominate platforms don't already have?

I suspect the big push for tablets and running on ARM has less to do with tablets and phones (they know that market is lost) but the coming ARM based servers. Today the only server OS for these platforms is Linux. Microsoft is deathly afraid of losing that battle.

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W8 Release date

December 21, 2012.

According to the Mayans.

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