Microsoft’s dysfunctional app store for Windows, the Microsoft Store, is finally improving on Windows 11. While there has been a UI overhaul and some speed improvements, the main change is that more apps are entering the store. In the past week alone, some popular apps have hit the Microsoft Store on Windows 11, making it more useful than before.
OBS Studio, Zoom, Canva, WinZip and Adobe Acrobat Reader hit the Microsoft Store last week along with Microsoft Edge browser extensions. These early additions during a beta for Windows 11 are a promising start.
The Microsoft Store changes on Windows 11 and eventually Windows 10 to include all traditional desktop apps. Microsoft previously limited developers to its universal Windows apps before then allowing some desktop apps that were packaged to use its store for updates. Now any app can be part of the store, a step in line with Microsoft’s Windows Package Manager released last year.
Microsoft’s Windows Package Manager quickly got better than the Windows Store in less than 24 hoursthat offers apps like Zoom and WinRAR that were missing from main memory. The package manager has grown steadily over the past year and now includes Discord, Google Chrome, Firefox, and many other popular apps. There is even one great third party web interface you can use it with it.
The Microsoft Store is now essentially a front end for the Windows Package Manager and the WinGet command that installs apps from the Microsoft repository. That should mean that even more apps will appear in the store in the coming weeks. Mozilla, for example has indicated that Firefox will be available soon.
We may even see competing app stores in the Microsoft Store, such as Steam or the Epic Games Store. Windows CEO Panos Panay said the company was up open to Steam or the Epic Games Store in the Microsoft Store, and it would probably be a way to connect to apps and games available elsewhere.
Part of the appeal of the new store for developers is that it allows apps with their own update systems, but also a change from Microsoft so that developers can keep 100 percent of the revenue from apps when they use alternative payment platforms. This change does not apply to games, however. It will be some time before we see how well Microsoft’s reduced gaming revenue cut, from 30 to 12 percent from August 1st, affects the store.
While these new app additions are useful, there is still a lot to be done. The store is full of junk apps, and lots of fake apps, guides, and crapware are still showing up in search results. It will take Microsoft some time to clean up this part of the store, especially because developers have been ditching the Microsoft Store for so long that a lot of those junk apps are now in the top free apps space.
Either way, the Microsoft Store is definitely headed in the right direction after being largely ignored for a decade. Having all the useful and popular apps listed is a huge improvement for Windows users who no longer have to search the internet to find a trustworthy installer for their favorite apps.