Microsoft may be cooking up a new Windows 10 Store app

Reportedly scheduled to launch in the fall, the overhaul would offer a new design and allow for a much wider array of apps.

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Microsoft might finally deliver a much-needed overhaul of its Windows 10 Store app before the year is over. The software giant is reportedly revamping the Windows Store with a look similar to that of the Windows 10 21H2 Sun Valley update, according to Windows Central. Like Windows 10 21H2, the new Windows Store would debut in the second half of the year, likely sometime this fall.

SEE: Cheat sheet: Windows 10 PowerToys (free PDF) (TechRepublic)  

Citing sources familiar with the matter, Windows Central said that the new Windows Store would unveil a more modern and fluid interface with friendlier layouts, better UI designs, new icons and fluid animations. Further, the store would be more inclusive than the current iteration, opening the door to a greater variety of apps.

Debuting alongside Windows 8 in 2012, the Windows Store initially struggled to gain traction, saddled with a small and limited number of apps and a clumsy and uninviting interface. Over the years, Microsoft has refreshed the store by sprucing up the design, adding more categories such as movies and TV shows, and rechristening it the Microsoft Store. But the virtual storefront still feels awkward and unfriendly and in need of a total redesign.

To reel in more developers, Microsoft will reportedly loosen some of the policies that govern which types of apps can be submitted to the store. Windows Central's sources pointed to three major policy changes.

First, developers will be able to submit their Win32 apps to the store without having to change any of the code. Currently, developers have to repackage Win32 apps in an MSIX format and must use Microsoft's own update and commerce platforms to maintain their apps. The new store would eliminate those restrictions.

Second, developers will be able to submit raw EXE or MSI packages to the store and host apps and deploy updates via their own content delivery networks (CDNs). This change will help developers of apps such as Zoom and Firefox that have their own auto-update mechanisms as they can better control how updates are deployed to users.

Third, app developers would be able to use their own e-commerce platforms, sidestepping Microsoft's payment system. Sources told Windows Central that the company would not even take a cut of the revenue in this type of arrangement, which could be a first among such app store owners as Microsoft, Apple and Google.

Microsoft's goal is to revamp the Windows Store as a more open model so developers can more easily submit their apps and users can more easily discover them. To help raise the bar, Microsoft will reportedly add several of its own core apps to the store including Teams, Office, Edge and Visual Studio.

Though the new and improved store would likely roll out around the same time as Windows 10 21H2, it would also be available for previous versions of Windows 10. If the timing is right, Microsoft could reveal the new store at its Build 2021 virtual conference the last week of May and then follow up with a public preview, Windows Central added.

TechRepublic contacted Microsoft for comment, and a spokesperson said that the company has nothing to share on this topic.

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