Deleted Microsoft blog post claims Windows 10 to support desktop apps and more in Windows Store

A blog post from a Microsoft employee that was later deleted this week seems to confirm that the Windows Store in Windows 10 will include many more features, including direct purchase and download access to traditional desktop applications (x86/x64) and more types of content besides just Modern apps.

The blog post was written by Oliver Niehus, who works on the Windows team as a principal application development manager. His blog post went live on Wednesday but was removed on Thursday. It's possible Niehus jumped the gun and revealed details about future Windows 10 features before Microsoft was ready to talk about them officially. However, a cached version of the post is available to read via Google.

In his post, Niehus wrote:

"The Windows Store will also support more than just modern apps. It will add desktop apps, as well as other types of digital content. We will provide many different ways to pay for apps. And we'll provide an organization store within the public Windows Store, where an org can place their own curated list of public apps as well as specific line-of-business apps that their employees need."

While the Windows Store in Windows 8 and 8.1 can list traditional desktop apps like Photoshop (as opposed to Photoshop Express), the storefront does not offer a way to directly purchase and download those apps from the storefront. Instead, clicking on them takes the user to a third party website for download. As far as "other types of digital content", it's more than possible that the Windows Store in Windows 10 could offer direct download links to movies, TV shows, music and books, but that is sheer speculation at this point.

Niehus also stated that there will be other ways to pay for apps in the Windows Store. Specifically, he wrote:

"Through the new Volume Purchase Program, we'll provide the ability to acquire apps for the organization, paid for using a purchase order, invoice, or credit card. We'll provide license management for those apps, enabling organizations to reclaim and reuse licenses (e.g. when an employee leaves the company). You will be able to deploy apps in a variety of ways: Download the installation files and put them in your custom images or deploy them using your existing management infrastructure. Send an e-mail link to a remote user. Install apps even when not connected to the internet."

It's important to point out that these features are not in the current Windows 10 Technical Preview but will likely be added in future preview builds before the final version is release sometime in 2015. What do you think of Microsoft's plans to expand the Windows Store?

Source: Oliver's blog (cached on Google) via Computerworld

John Callaham
  • Wow
  • Maybe this is a dumb question, but... why are Metro apps so much less powerful than x86 apps. Meaning, could PhotoShop be created as a Metro app (meaning, a full-featured PhotoShop app)? I'm not a developer so I don't really understand the difference between the two.
  • Rght now probably not, but as long as the developer platform matures it will be possible. That's the long term goal for sure, to have desktop apps replaced by universal apps gradually.
  • As a developer, they aren't explicitly less powerful. The cost of porting Photoshop would be significant and it's simply not worth for Adobe. Also extensions, add-ons and plugins are tricky.
  • Good answer.
  • So I interpret this as meaning that x86 apps aren't going anywhere.
  • Just as OS X apps arent going away either.
  • Didn't notice you here before. But glad to see you here. I always liked your answers in Microsoft tribe. Your replies are factual and concrete.
  • Also modern apps seem to be common for all devices, as opposed to minimum requirements specified for all desktop programs
  • its more a case of.... it takes a lotttttttt of time, money and code todevelop such a complex app, and they have the app that was years in the making as an EXE so why would they spend so much money on remaking it from scratch when the metro interface is utilized by 0.1% of the number of people that use the traditional desctop on all supported versionsof windows? also there may be some APIs that arent yet implimented but I dont know.
  • Many need to be designed to work on ARM 32-bit chips, for RT. So many end up being a lot less powerful, because they are restricted from accessing parts of the OS, and don't necessarily take advantage of the power of the x86 chipsets in desktop processors.
  • As it stands modern apps have a lot of restrictions compared with desktop apps. A simple example is background processing - a desktop app can do whatever it wants whether it's active or not, but a modern app has to abide by very strict rules (e.g. apps are 'frozen' when not on the screen). An issue I had trying to build an app once was that modern apps can't access arbitrary folders/files outside the standard libraries/documents unless the user specifically chooses the file/folder via a picker...very inconvenient for the specific feature I wanted in one of my apps.   The restrictions are mostly beneficial (preserving battery life, user-friendly installation and updating, for example), but there is a balance. As the platform matures developers will probably get more flexible rules so that more is possible with modern apps. There is also the need for modern apps to work on lots of different devices with different screens and input types (e.g. touch screens, mouse/keyboard, small tablets, large monitors). Microsoft is building a more flexible, secure, and simple platform for the future...but it will be a while before the new model can replace the old model entirely.   And of course as someone else mentioned a modern app must be built from scratch as they use a different model than traditional apps - Adobe would have to rebuild Photoshop from the ground up.   We'll know a lot more after Build next year ~April, when Microsoft starts to talk about Windows 10 development and probably the new store.
  • Best answer achievement!
  • One of the challenges with building a Metro app beyond a few points others have covered is that you have to compile all of your required libraries within your app as well.   So if you want to use something like the OpenEXR library you have to have a C++ or C# version of the code and you have to compile it as part of your project.   If you don't have the source to those libraries and simply want to use the DLLs you may or may not be allowed to and still publish in the store.   So with something like Photoshop there may be libraries that they are using which only offer a pre-compiled dll that they don't have source access to and could possibly be calling Win32 API calls which are forbidden.  Even if they have the source (like OpenEXR) it would be a lot of work to go through all of those libraries and make the necessary changes to be Windows Store compatible.  They also may not be written in C++ or C# (as the VLC team is running into with VLCLib being written in C) which means you would have to rewrite and retest the library for C++. 
  • Hope the Store app gets a design overhaul
  • Its very beautiful and neat and productive already. Sent from somewhere. Don't worry I ain't illegal.
  • The store needs a unified look. Between Windows platforms, no matter how it looks.
  • THIS ! Btw, are they talking about Windows phone 10 store? Or desktop store? I dont know if WPcentral is trying to adapt the new name or theyre talking about desktop, its really becoming confusing now. Cause it wouldnt make sense saying that desktop windows 10 will support desktop apps which is obvious.    
  • They are talking about the ability to buy/get programs (Apps) such as Photoshop, Antiviruses, browsers, etc directly off the WindowsStore, rather then going to said program's website.
  • They are talking about the desktop/tablet store.   However, there will only be one store for Windows 10. The same store on phones, tablets, PCs
    (and maybe Xbox One). I imagine they will filter out applications your device can't run, so no desktop apps in the phone store.   It sounds like they will be including music, video, etc. in the same store (which is how Apple and Google do it with Play and iTunes).   And just to clarify: the current store does not properly support desktop apps - developers can only list a link to their own website, which is where the user actually buys the software just as they normally would without the store. Windows 10's store will (according to the leaked info) allow proper app listings where Microsoft delivers the software and collects the payment.
  • I wish so!
  • Are you on the most up-to-date version? It's a massive improvement over the original design.   Though the Store app is buggy as hell. Sometimes I can't tap on an app and have to restart. Sometimes it just hangs unable to connect. Installations sometimes just don't happen. No wonder hardly anyone actually downloads modern apps...even when they want to the app gets in the way.
  • It's needs to add sections for digital content like books, music, movies as well. And could really use a 'game center' area with leader boards, achievements, and more.
  • Avast could sell Antivirus now
  • seem interesting
  • Would be cool certified apps and programs x64 and x86 based. No more viruses.
  • Since I started using PCs in 1981, I have never had a legitimate desktop application introduce a virus.  This means I never bought a program from anywhere other than the developer or one of its authorized agents.  I would definitely not like the only source of applications to be the Windows Store.  I learned to absolutely hate iTunes for precisely that reason.
  • This is based on the Mac App Store model, where apps and updates are offered through the App Store, but also can be acquired other ways. It's better than the Mac App Store for "enterprise" customers in many ways, such as retrieving licence keys from former employees, but the base model seems similar.
  • So long as it doesn't become a single vendor ecosystem for applications, I'll be fine with it.
  • As long as the desktop is around (and it will be around for a long time) there will be software you can easily install from anywhere. You will miss out on the benefits of the Windows Store of course (easy updating, quality control, simple billing, refunds, etc.).
  • Store apps don't have more or less viruses and malware than desktop programs, you realise? If you get your programs from a legitimate and trusted source, then there really is almost no danger. The same applies to the ever-so-restrictive windows store.
  • Not quite.   Store apps are basically *unable* to do any harm to your computer. They simply don't have access to do anything particularly damaging. They can't access system files, can't run in the background, etc.   About the worst they can do is get you to pay for rubbish, display ads, or somehow get the user to explicitly give them private information.   With the added benefit that Microsoft can (and will) remove apps that attempt anything dodgy.
  • Sounds amazing. But it's not really an easy job for MS.
  • Very interesting. I like it a lot.
  • As long as they can scan those desktop apps and make them secure this will go a long way towards reducing the number of malware infected software appearing on our parents machines LOL
  • They couldn't really do that with current desktop applications. They can take plenty of measures: only accept apps from 'reputable' developers, require certain legal paperwork (e.g. 'I accept the store rules'), test the software, etc.   Unless they play to implement a new set of APIs that require explicit permissions (like a Store app).
  • Long overdue. Is necessary as Windows is in in the fight of it's life. Helps publishers and customers. The TP has the 8.1 store whereas MS already said the 10 "one unified store" is coming later (maybe consumer preview or after that even). Clearly these "integrating things" are why "windows 8.2" didn't ship with start menu as MS said it would "later this year".
  • FYI Microsoft never said Windows 8.2 would ship with a Start menu. Never once. They said the Start menu would arrive with a future update. It appears an 8.2 was planned internally, but never officially announced.
  • Would be great if it would show update for desktop apps!
  • Thats cool.. Piracy will be at least lessen... And they should make daily deals with desktop apps a~la~steam ..kinda.. ;) Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • Sounds good. Defenitively this would help to make more secure desktop programa (or apps or however you want to call them).
  • I should read before I send a message: Defenitly...
  • You can still edit the comment
  • Can't edit from the app...
  • Aaaaand you still spelld et wrang
  • Twice lol.. "Definitely"
  • Lol. I'm not OK. :P
  • Does this mean that there could be viruses? Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • This means whatever you download from store will definitely be virus free :)
  • unless the developer decides to put a malware on their desktop app, there is no way an app in store should have anything dangerous. also Microsoft would probably be strict, since they know it can be a problem and having one store and bringing phone apps to windows store, will make the store grow, they can take and remove some useless apps.
  • Ultimately, the Windows Store will support traditional applications, much like the Mac App Store on OS X does.
  • I don't like the idea of having only one source of applications.  Hated it on OS X, too.
  • There are other ways to get Mac applications, there will be with Windows 10 too.
  • Hope so.
  • You can still go to websites, use steam, or what ever to get apps. Thing is that it's really nice to have a store where you know those apps will work and not have viruses. Plus then you don't have to put your card info everywhere. It's just like shopping at a big center where they have everything in that store so you don't have to drive everywhere to get stuff. We don't have to look for the apps on google as often where you have to find the links and hope you find the right but to and correst website.
  • You don't 'know' the store won't have viruses, there is just as much (if not more) malware on the store as on the internet. It's just hidden more from view on the store. The store is also really, really restrictive. So this isn't necessarily a good thing, and won't make anything safer, or less safe.
  • @ChrisP1 Agreed!
  • I hope this implies that they are finally ready to take on Steam, although I think hardcover PC gamers will reject the Store and Microsoft would need to make a separate "Xbox PC" store.
  • I don't think "hardcore" gamers would willingly go to any Microsoft-owned store. I'd rather Microsoft force them to buy things from them by making a better product, though.
  • Gamers will go where the content is. If Microsoft were smart, they'd launch an "Xbox PC" Steam competitor that complemented Xbox One and made it ridiculously easy to port Xbox One games to Xbocx PC and vice versa. Xbox would become the lead development platform and both Xbox console gamers and Xbox personal computer gamers would get more games as a result, and Microsoft would get the software sales cuts either way. Many Xbox One exclusives are already going to PC anyway (Dead Risin 3, Ryse, etc.), might as well keep them in the Xbox family and profit from them too. Many diehard PC gamers will never game on a console, but they'll gladly download an "Xbox PC" Steam alternative to play games like Halo, Gears of War, Forza, etc. Microsoft foolishly ignored the PC gaming market the past 8 years and handed it to Valve on a silver platter when they should've been leveraging their PC presence to aid their console investments (and vice versa).
  • Microsoft had Games for Windows Live for years, but they did a poor job with it - only a handful of games, high prices. But it was great for the games that it had - Xbox achievements on the PC for example.
  • Games will still be purchased through steam. Only games I suspect that aren't in steam (modern style apps) will be purchased in the windows store
  • Hopefully they can work out a new lightweight Xbox API rather than the absolute clusterfuck that was (is) GFWL.
  • Reclaiming codes could be huge.
  • It would be great for many reasons: - It gives the opportunity to download desktop apps safely and keep them updated. Less risks for casual users.
    - they can discount apps as they already do with red stripe weekly offers.
    - it makes the Store relevant even for those users who refuse to use modern apps on their PC. This way is more probable that they give apps a try and begin to use them.
    - desktop apps include games too, so ideally more competition for Steam. MS already have deals with game publishers with the Xbox, they could extend those deals to include PCs.
  • Its a big one. Managing licences is a nightmare for many of the organization. Also this will get Microsoft a small share of the profits from the software which will add up to huge number for volume purchases.
  • Will that apply for windows phone as well?
  • No, wp runs on ARM only, exe apps cant run on arm.
  • does it my that I could run hearthstone on my Lumia phone? :ooo (of course if devs let me)
  • no, but it could be ported :P
  • I also wonder if all this big changes includes Cyanogenmod team doing something on it. As MS was in talks with them.
  • Desktop apps have been supported in the Store since Windows 8.0.
  • explained in the article desktop apps are just listed in the can't actually purchase and download them directly
  • Sounds great! Add all sorts of content inside the windows store like music, video and eBooks.
  • Fine as long as it doesn't become the only method to install apps on Windows devices or a class of applications only available via download.
  • Windows 10 can be a major HOMERUN, a GRANDSLAM! Exciting times ahead!
  • This!
  • My only fear about Microsoft... Brilliant ideas followed by improper execution and lack of structure.. I pray with someone new at the helm that it's a thing of the past.
  • I know this is not the right place to post this but :
    I've read somewhere ( on some hackers/security sites ) that the technical preview of Windows 10 contains a keylogger , that sends all the information you type to Microsoft ...
  • It tracks what keys you're using, but they only use them to see what kind of shortcuts and keyboard commands you're using. They want to see how people are using the product.
  • 1. it can be deactivated. 2. it's a release for "beta" testers to test and use the product. 3. it will do the same your phone already does, Microsoft or not, it will send information (in this case) to Microsoft about your use of the spellchecker and some patherns people use to make a better spell checker or better Bing searches results or better cortana answers. so no, it's not a keylogger, it just do what other device already do, send information for improvement over patterns people can do.
  • I Love how Microsoft seems to be addressing so many aspects for Windows 10, I mean not only Windows 8 annoyances but also features that Windows has been lacking for several years, like the multi-desktop and the centralised store for x64 apps. Could this be the end of having to manually download some software update from a website and let the store roll all updates, just like software repositories in Linux distributions? I surely hope so. Windows 10 looks so promising! Can't wait for it.
  • Will it be like OS X's App Store where it is safe to download and lessen fraud and piracy? (and also virus infection rate)?
  • This is great if it's true. Will probably have a negative impact on Steam when it comes to game sales. It round be nice if you could manage licensing for ANY Windows based app within Office 365.
  • It's about time. I like using 3rd party software but it'd be nice to be able to do so without worrying about insecure login systems (for 3rd party app websites) and losing the key for the application.
  • Hopefully this isn't the first step in them trying to make it the only way to install programs. That could backfire big time.
  • What about games? MS's steam competitor? :o
  • why not? if it doesn't cost much or anything to developers and publishers, to sell or give the app through store, it could be another way of getting games. and many people will accept it.
  • Sounds great! I'm sure the competitors are real happy about this advanced notice!
  • Cool keep em coming
  • This will only be good if they allow independent developers can use it. At the moment non RT apps can only be distributed if you are a company. But it sure would be cool for me of as a desktop dev if they could handle payments, essentially certify my app and do things such as starts and in app purchases. Exciting!
  • I doubt independent devs will be able to publish desktop apps. They have no liability if they publish something dodgy. Being a registered company would protect Microsoft against malware, etc.
  • But you can always develop modern app
  • If it would mean that you could restore previously installed x86 desktop apps with one click after reinstalling windows this will be awesome and make me use less portable apps.
  • So the no of apps in windows store will explode. Cool. Will be good for marketing.
  • I'd love for MSFT to have a Desktop Store ... but they'll screw it up: 1. They'll take a 20-30% cut of sales. My current reseller takes around 6%. I would switch to MSFT if they charged 10%. Having them manage keys would be worth the extra 4% to me. 2. They won't tell me who bought my programs. I get zero information on my WP8 app sales other than the total. I need the user information (email address at a minimum) in order to allow them on my support forum. 3. The ultimate killer: it won't be Win7 compatible. The majority of my users are on Win7 (57%) while only 28% are Win8. There's no way I could ditch Win7 compatibility.  
  • Does this mean wpf isn't dead?
  • These are much needed changes to the Windows Store. Desktop apps should have been available on the Windows Store from Day 1.