Epic Video games Retailer, Discord, and Zoom will all be becoming a member of the extra versatile Home windows 11 app retailer

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Enlarge / The Microsoft Store on Windows 11.

Microsoft

When Microsoft introduced Windows 11 in the summer, there was also a major change in strategy for its App Store. In an effort to attract more developers and their apps after years of indifference, Microsoft said all types of apps developed and packaged with all sorts of tools will be added to the Microsoft Store, including everything from traditional Win32 apps over Electron apps to progressive web apps (PWA).

Now we’re seeing some of the fruits of this change – Microsoft has announced that key third-party apps like Zoom, Discord, Adobe Reader, the VLC Media Player, and even the LibreOffice suite are all now available to users on the Microsoft Store using the Windows 11 Insider Preview builds. Web apps like Wikipedia, Reddit, and Tumblr are also available. These PWAs look and work just like regular websites, but can easily be pinned to Start or the system tray, and can display notification badges and a few other benefits that make them appear more like desktop apps.

Microsoft also says it will allow other app stores into the Microsoft Store, starting with Amazon and the Epic Games Store. These will be available “in the next few months”. (If support for Amazon’s Android apps is added to Windows 11 sometime after the official launch, those apps can still be found in the Microsoft Store itself.) If you don’t have Windows 11 on your. want to (or be able to) install PC, Microsoft says that the new Microsoft Store and the new apps it contains will also be available on Windows 10 “in the coming months”. Windows 11 will officially roll out on October 5th.

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The Windows Store was more modeled after Apple’s app stores when it was first introduced in the Windows Phone and Windows 8 days, but has never been a particularly relevant or convenient way to access most everyday Windows apps. If that changes in Windows 11, it will benefit Microsoft, even if the company doesn’t make money out of a lot of apps directly. As the Microsoft Store becomes a convenient destination for users, it becomes more important for developers to post their apps there, which makes it more convenient for users and so on.

Microsoft also announced in June that developers using their own payment platforms (or third-party payment services from companies other than Microsoft) will be able to keep whatever revenue they make, rather than the typical 85/15 revenue sharing for apps. Specifically, this change doesn’t apply to games that have a lower revenue split of 88/12 but will have to pay Microsoft its cut regardless of how they handle payments. The Apple vs. Epic Games case found that games account for 70 percent of Apple’s App Store sales, suggesting that even with these changes, Microsoft isn’t going to leave a lot of money on the table.

Collection image from Microsoft

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