|A component of Microsoft Windows|
Windows Store on Windows 8.1
|Included with||Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2|
|Service name||Windows Store Service (WSService)|
|Description||Provides infrastructure support for Windows Store. This service is started on demand and if disabled applications bought using Windows Store will not behave correctly.|
|Active / 142,000 Apps|
|Part of a series on|
Windows Store is an application store for Microsoft Windows, starting with Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. The platform can be used to provide listings for desktop applications certified to run on Windows, but is also the primary distribution platform for a new type of mobile app called "Metro-style apps" (common name) or "Windows Store apps" (official name).
Free and paid applications can be distributed through Windows Store, with paid apps ranging in cost from US$1.49 to $999.99. Windows Store was first made available with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on February 29, 2012.
As with other similar platforms, such as the Mac App Store and Google Play, Windows Store is curated and apps must be certified for compatibility and content. Microsoft takes 30% of the sale price of Windows Store apps until the vendor's sales reach $25,000; from that point onward, the cut is reduced to 20%.
As of December 2013 there are approximately 142,000 apps available on the Windows Store. Games, Entertainment, Books and Reference, and Education are the largest categories by number of apps and the majority of the app developers have 1 app.
Microsoft previously maintained a similar digital distribution system for software known as Windows Marketplace, which allowed customers to purchase software online and download it to their computer. Product keys and licenses were tracked by the platform, allowing users to retrieve their purchases when switching computers. Windows Marketplace was discontinued in November 2008.
Microsoft first announced a digital distribution service for Windows at its presentation during Build on September 13, 2011. Further details announced during the conference revealed that the store would be able to hold listings for both certified traditional Windows applications, as well as what was called "Metro-style apps" at the time: Tightly sandboxed software based on Microsoft design guidelines that are constantly monitored for quality and compliance. For consumers, Windows Store is intended to be the only way to obtain Metro-style apps. While announced alongside the "Developer Preview" release of Windows 8, the Windows Store itself was not yet available in a usable form until the "Consumer Preview", released in February 2012.
An updated version of Windows Store is introduced by the Windows 8.1 update. Its home page was remodeled to display apps in focused categories (such as popular, recommended, top free and paid, and special offers) with expanded details, while the ability for apps to automatically update was also added. The 8.1 update also introduced other notable presentation changes, including increasing the top app lists to return 1000 apps instead of 100 apps, a 'picks for you' section, and changing the default sorting for reviews to be by 'most popular'.
Windows Store is the primary means of distributing Windows Store apps to users; the official reason is to allow Microsoft to scan apps for security flaws and malware.[unreliable source?] Although sideloading apps from outside the store is supported, not all computers running Windows 8 can do it. Out-of-box sideloading support is only available for Windows 8 Enterprise computers that have joined a Windows domain. Sideloading on Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro computers as well as Windows 8 Enterprise computers without a domain affiliation requires purchase of additional licenses through Microsoft volume licensing outlet.
Microsoft takes a 30% cut of application sales until it reaches $25,000 USD in revenue, after which the cut drops to 20%. Third-party transactions are also allowed, of which Microsoft does not take a cut. Individual developers are able to register for $19 USD and companies for $99 USD.
Developers from 120 countries can submit applications to Windows Store. The application now can support any of 109 languages, as long as it supports one of 12 application certification languages.
Similarly to Windows Phone Store, Windows Store is regulated by Microsoft. Applicants must obtain Microsoft's approval before their application becomes available on the store. Prohibited apps include those that:
- Contain any adult content (i.e. content warranting the ESRB's "Adults Only" rating, or equivalents)
- Advocate discrimination, hatred or violence based on membership in a particular racial, ethnic, national, linguistic, religious, or other social group, or based on a person’s gender, age, or sexual orientation
- Contain content or functionality that encourages, facilitates or glamorizes illegal activity
- Contain or display content that a reasonable person would consider to be obscene
- Are defamatory, libelous or slanderous, or threatening
- Encourage, facilitate or glamorize excessive or irresponsible use of alcohol or tobacco products, drugs or weapons
- Encourage, facilitate or glamorize extreme or gratuitous violence, human rights violations or the creation or use of weapons against a person or animal in the real world
- Contain excessive or gratuitous profanity
Microsoft has indicated that it does have the ability to remotely disable and/or remove apps from users' systems for security or legal reasons; in the case of paid apps, refunds may be issued if this were to occur.
The company initially faced criticism for incorrectly banning PEGI "18"-rated content from Windows Store in Europe, as critics noted that a number of "18"-rated games were rated "Mature" by ESRB (making the rule stricter than intended). The guidelines were amended in December 2012 to correct this abnormality.
In addition to the user facing Windows Store client, the store also has a developer portal in which developers can interact with. The Windows developer portal has the following section breakdowns:
- App Summary - An overview page of a given app, which includes a downloads chart, quality chart, finance summary, and a sales chart.
- App Adoption - A page which shows adoption of the app, including conversions, referrers, and downloads.
- App Ratings - A ratings breakdown, as well as the ability to filter reviews by a region.
- App Quality - An overview page showcasing exceptions that have occurred in the app.
- App Finance - A page where a developer can download all transactions of their app.
Windows Store provides developer tools for tracking apps in the store. One can track downloads, financials, crashes, adoption and ratings.
The dashboard also presents a detailed breakdown on users by market, age, and region, as well as charts on number of downloads, purchases, and average time spent in an app. The dashboard also allows a developer to claim an application name for up to 1 year before the name is returned back to the available pool.
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- Windows Store website
- Developer's center
- Windows App Reviews website
- Windows Store App Analytics - AppFeds