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What the Microsoft Store does right (and wrong) compared to rival app stores

The Microsoft Store has experienced significant change over the last few years. On one hand, it has been bolstered by the growth of progressive web apps (PWAs), the success of Microsoft's Centennial Bridge, and some big-name companies adding their apps to the store. On the other hand, it's seen its mobile phone component abandoned by Microsoft and still lacks apps from many developers large and small.

I spoke with multiple developers who are veterans of the Microsoft app ecosystem to gain insight on the state of the store, ranging from what would make it more successful, how it stacks up to other stores, and how it faces a unique position of competing with a core part of Windows itself. More specifically, Ben Fox from User Camp and Niels Laute, the developer behind Huetro for Hue, helped me see the store in a new light. What follows is a summary of my own opinions and those of these two developers.

No direct comparison

iPad App Store

iPad App Store (Image credit: Windows Central)

The Microsoft Store is difficult to compare to other app stores because it's unique. It is a unified vision of both code being shared across form factors by developers and a marketplace for users that includes apps, games, movies, browser extensions, and hardware. There is no other app store that has this combination, but the Microsoft Store still struggles to grab many users' and developers' attention.

iOS is considered the most successful app store by many, and when it comes to apps for phones and tablets, the Microsoft Store pales in comparison. Windows 10 Mobile is dead, and tablet mode and the library of tablet apps on Windows 10 is far behind that of Apple's iPad. The Microsoft Store is also behind Android when it comes to phone apps and to a lesser extent tablet applications. But you can't just measure the Microsoft Store on mobile use because the vast majority of its users are on PCs.

With Windows 10 reaching 700 million devices, there is a massive potential install base. While a large portion of users will never install something from the app store, developers have taken note of the audience and brought over their apps. Affinity Photo, Slack, and Adobe Photoshop Elements are just a few powerful desktop applications on Windows 10 compared to lighter variants and similar apps on mobile platforms.

You can make similar comparisons for Windows Mixed Reality versus the Oculus Store, and gaming in the Microsoft Store versus Steam, Blizzard, and Epic. But, again, these are segmented comparisons. The Microsoft Store ranks highly for desktops, poorly for mobile, and competes in other areas. That makes it difficult to rank the Microsoft Store as a whole and measure its success.

The Microsoft Store has become a place for powerful apps

What does success mean for the Microsoft Store?

Not only is the Microsoft Store difficult to compare as a whole to any of its competition, it is also complicated because what would be considered "successful" isn't clearly defined for the Microsoft Store. In an ideal world for those in Redmond, the Microsoft Store would have turned into a popular marketplace for apps on all form factors and would have driven the company's efforts from mobile to Mixed Reality forward. That obviously hasn't happened, so in that specific measurement of success, I'd say the Microsoft Store is a failure.

But that's only one way to look at it. Is the Microsoft Store intended to be a consistent revenue stream for Microsoft? Is it meant to be a driving force pushing developers to make true UWP apps? Is it meant to be a safe and secure way for users to get applications from developers both large and small? Or is it supposed to become the home of enough applications to make "Windows 10 Lite" (or "Santorini") and Windows 10 in S Mode viable alternatives for casual consumers?

I'd argue that the people at Microsoft initially wanted to make money and to be a massive marketplace extended across all form factors, but that has shifted towards my last two points. Microsoft's leadership wants to push Windows 10 into the modern computing space that includes Chromebooks, tablets used for work, and lightweight computing. If the Microsoft Store can become a singular location for users to get all the apps and extensions they need to enjoy media, do light computing, and browse the web, I'd imagine the folks at Microsoft will count that as a win, even if it wasn't their initial vision.

Competing against an open OS

Windows has been around for decades, and it ran without a Microsoft Store for the vast majority of that. Users can download an .exe file from any website to install a program onto their PCs. For most users, this is what they've grown accustomed to. As a result, the Microsoft Store is competing against the openness that Windows provides.

When smartphones and tablets became popular, the only way to do quite a few things was through apps, thus the "there's an app for that" ad campaign. To a large extent, that's still the case for tablets that aren't also full PCs. Windows' longevity and support for legacy software means that users can get apps or play games from a variety of sources, including older sites.

In addition to users having many options, developers have to choose if the Microsoft Store is worth it. By using the Microsoft Store, developers get discovererability, clean installation and uninstallation, and more. But for some developers, that doesn't really matter.

Take Adobe for example. The people there put Photoshop Elements into the Microsoft Store but none of their full creative suite is in it. And you could reasonably ask, why should they put it there? Adobe wants people to buy Creative Cloud and other Adobe software on their PCs. Adobe doesn't need help being discovered, and it certainly doesn't want to give a portion of its proceeds to Microsoft. It's worth pointing out that you can make an app free to download but require a service subscription like Spotify does for Spotify Premium. But even with that being the case, it's reasonable to think Adobe doesn't need the Microsoft Store.

Other developers, such as Laute and Fox from Huetro and User Camp respectively, were helped immensely by the store putting their apps into the face of users. Fox pointed out to me that Microsoft has a section for pen-centered apps in the Microsoft Store and that users can click that, see Penbook, and install it with only a few clicks. He added that gaining that level of exposure and ease of installation through an ad campaign would never be profitable and that the Microsoft Store does it with ease.

Gaming competition is no game on PCs

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Gaming is the part of the Microsoft Store that lacks the most compared to the competition right now, if you don't count mobile, which was forfeited. Gaming on PC is dominated by Steam and other stores like Blizzard and Epic. Steam offers a plethora of benefits including great deals, customization, modding options, and more that the Microsoft Store just can't compete with right now. The social setup of Steam is also better in many people's opinion than what Microsoft provides.

The gaming portion of the Microsoft Store is currently a good idea with poor implementation and it has competition that doesn't share the same flaws. For those hoping to see improvement, Phil Spencer, Microsoft's head of gaming, recently spoke to PC Gamer on Microsoft's committment to PC gaming and their plans to revamp the Microsoft Store.

Battling browsers

As we move to a lightweight and consumer focused computing market, the web becomes a destination for more users. Chromebooks haven't been just for students for a long time, and many people can get through their workflows smoothly with just the web and maybe a few specific apps on top of it.

Windows 10 has Chrome, Firefox, and many other browsers, so many users can do everything they'd like without ever touching the Microsoft Store. I personally use the apps for Slack, Pocket Casts, Spotify, Netflix, Tweeten (for Tweetdeck), and Office, but I could, and have, used the web versions of all of those to get work done.

Fighting a poor reputation

Steve Ballmer in 2007

Steve Ballmer in 2007 (Image credit: Microsoft)

Another issue facing the Microsoft Store is its reputation. That reputation is especially bad for gaming, but there are a number of other issues that are worth noting.

Despite Steve Ballmer's classic viral video screaming about developers, Microsoft has hit some bumps in the road with them. Multiple restarts of the Windows or Microsoft Store and other issues have left some burned out when it comes to developing for Windows. Additionally, there are some concerns about the fact that Microsoft announced a new income model for developers a year ago but we have yet to see it roll out.

But that doesn't mean Microsoft isn't a resource for developers. The Microsoft Store is the only place where you can reuse such a high amount of code to deploy across different form factors. The app review process has gotten significantly better recently, as well, meaning that good apps are easier to find. When I talked to Fox, we joked about how the Microsoft Store used to be full of blatant scam apps. While some of those still exist, this is much less of an issue today.

Some users also have had issues with the Microsoft Store. Once a user has an issue with something they're new to using, they're likely to go back to what they know works. Download update bugs, a poor search function, and other issues have alienated many users from the Microsoft Store.

I personally enjoy the Microsoft Store for apps, but I have had to have some patience with it.

One of the biggest issues for users is that much-discussed app gap. That's closed dramatically over the last few years, but I imagine many users search for a few apps, don't find them, and then assume they aren't there.

So what is the state of the Microsoft Store?

After weeks of speaking with developers and looking through different aspects of the Microsoft Store, I've come away with a different perspective of it. While it may seem like a failure if measured strictly against the dream of an app store that has iOS levels of developer support, but for every form factor, it is a success in other ways.

Microsoft has repositioned the Microsoft Store as a tool to make it a more viable option for users downloading apps safely from one place. With the exception of Chrome and a few other apps, I think a large number of casual consumers could get their apps from just the Microsoft Store and be fine, though I doubt many do this. If people can't use just apps from the Microsoft Store now, it will be more likely once Edge runs on Chromium and makes Windows 10 into a Chrome-like OS with Windows apps. Of course, users will still have the option to get apps from other locations unless they stick to S Mode or Windows Santorini.

The Microsoft Store has its flaws of course, but the people at Microsoft have made a number of improvements that I think are largely unappreciated by people who only tried the Microsoft Store when Windows 10 first came out.

What do you think the state of the Microsoft Store is? Has it improved in your eyes since its release? What does Microsoft need to do to improve it further? Let us know in the comments.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

77 Comments
  • If you want apps get a Chromebook, MS store still has a poor choice
  • Curious, do you have a Chromebook? I have the Samsung one, which is decent hardware. Can't say the Store with phone apps is that impressive. What makes you think it is e.g. what's on there that's valuable for laptops? Just seems odd to ignore iOS, which definitely does have the better store, even though things like Instagram still run sideways or there is poor app scaling.
  • Yep swapped tons chromebook for tablet after my 8.1 RT as the apps I did use slowly disappeared. Wind 10 didn't have any more to offer. Haven't looked back, and haven't tried iOS store
  • What apps specifically are you looking for that are on Chromebook OS that Windows 10 doesn't have?
  • There was a few at the time, banks springs to mind. But Android has them all
  • You need an app for your bank on a device that has a desktop browser!!?!
  • Phones have browser also, why would laptop/tablet be any different
  • >> Phones have browser also, why would laptop/tablet be any different A Windows 10 device is larger. What is this, 2011?
  • Yes and no as to needing an app to bank. For example, I need the app on my Android phone to log into the bank web site unless I am prepared to find a card and card reader to generate the code.
  • In the UK, that's a definite yes. There are quite a number of features that my bank offers, ones I use regularly, that are only available from the app and not from their website. It's been that way for years, so I don't see it changing.
  • Bank apps provide a lot of functions that the websites don't.
  • Well, what % market share IOS has? And how many $$$$$$$$$$$ needed to use it? LOL
    Most folk will 'ignore it', ditto Rolls Royce, Rolex, etc...having no experience with it.
    The main point is that with such a monopoly user base, Windows Store is so lacking. I add a ton of helpful apps to all new systems-- sadly from outside the Store.
    I find it encouraging that IOS & Chrome can now run Win apps. Apple should now take the ball and run by reviving the Safari browser for Windows. Further, I'd allow Apple Pay to run thru the Safari browser on the competing OS platforms.
  • Dude, I couldn't get anything done with a browser alone. I know many people can but I sure can't.
  • Agree for ms office and gaming etc windows wins these would not be from the store but for most stuff you'd use on your phone Chromebook is great
  • But then why not just have a phone, and then a Windows machine for big boy work? No serious adult works without a laptop or desktop computer, and advanced tablets with split screen capabilities have been available for years.
  • The iOS and Android app stores have allot more apps, then the Microsoft Store for Windows 10. For example, out of 30 games on the Google Play Store, I only found about 12 in the Microsoft Store.
  • Who play mobile games on PC to begin with? Most mobile games are just s****y in comparison and the ones that aren't shouldn't even be compared to the PC games.
  • I don't really use the MS store because I can either use a web app that does the work or just download the Win32 version by doing a simple web search.
  • Or if you're talking games, I use Steam, but for the Xbox you are forced to use the MS store.
  • Aren't all consoles forcing you to use their own stores?
  • This is the part I find a little odd. Why choose to do a web search when you can do a store search? Unless you know the application is not there. I allways choose the store app if it exists. Automated updates alone is reason enough for me.
  • I do my best to use the Windows Store when possible. Office, Vudu, Netflix, Hulu and Spotify to name a few. I still use the desktop version of Skype because I like having it minimized in the taskbar.
  • You have new Skype form Store minimized in taskbar.
  • Still can't right-click and close the app from the taskbar icon with the Store app.
  • I like the diversity of the store, albiet the future of the Mobile enabled and based apps is confusing and unclear. I wish there were better ways to search or searching was improved. If I search Twitter, why am I being shown a PDF Reader? It would also be nice to see a "Last Updated" so that I know if I'm downloading something abandoned or something supported. I saw one developer comment yesterday he didn't realize his app was still in the store and that comment even was from 2017. I think it's cool that I can buy hardware if I really wanted to, but the Surface Headphones are not easily found without just searching for them. There are just a lot of confusing directions, and as noted, on a device where applications can be had without the store (open PCs) what is the goal for the Store?
  • "If I search Twitter, why am I being shown a PDF Reader?" Because they use the word "twitter" in their app description.
  • Search is the worst in the store
  • Ugh, here's a problem with the Store -- the Windows Central Windows Store app lost my comment and forced me to come to the website in a non-Edge browser to post, because Edge auto-opens the Windows Central app (and this is a common problem, plus if you copy the comment that won't post to the clipboard to save to enter in a separate browser, closing the WC app actually deletes its clipboard entry -- how can a site/app dedicated to Windows and Microsoft have such a broken Windows Store app!!!!). I'm not going to bother to try re-write it as originally written. Buggy apps like this don't help the Store any. The say, "Even Windows fans don't care about the Store, so no one else should either." That said, in general, I prefer the Store to non-Store for Windows apps, because they autoupdate instead of interrupting me to ask if I want to install an update (HATE those workflow interruptions). Compared to iOS and Google Play, search and access to apps is biggest problem. As two vital app examples, I have the Kindle and Weather Channel apps in my history (and can install from there), but can't find them by searching. It's like they've been removed from search, but are still available to install if you have them in your history. That's bad.
  • You do know what you're talking about it is a Feature.
    Which it can be turned off in settings. Apps ( apps For websites)
  • Marty, your insulting approach aside, you're also wrong that I don't know what I'm talking about. I am well aware you can set certain functions to open an app instead of inside a web browser. When the Windows Central works, I prefer to have Windows open the app in place of the browser. Recently, the app appears to have stopped working. I've reset, uninstalled and reinstalled, etc. Maybe it works for some and this is not a universal problem, but I cannot post comments in the app. I see in the Feedback Hub that I'm far from alone with this exact problem. I've added my report there too. Worse, the app has ALWAYS had a problem where if you turn the scroll wheel while hovering over the comments, if there are not enough comments to generate a vertical scroll bar, it changes articles!! Similarly, pressing ctrl-arrow keys, if you're at the last word, instead of doing nothing, like it would in any other text field, it jumps to the next article. That is a flat out terrible and I'd say broken UI. I don't think that ever worked properly. However, here, in a discussion about the Store, I think it's relevant and topical to point out both what I like about Store apps over iOS and Play app experiences and also the absurdity that Windows Central does not have a reliable app (even if it works for some, it also doesn't work for many users -- that's terrible for an app from a major fan site). I'm a big fan of Windows Central. It's my main source for Windows news and I read the new articles in the WindowsCentral app on my aging Windows Phone throughout the day. I am disappointed in the team that they apparently don't care enough about Windows 10 (PC, not phone) to ensure their desktop Windows 10 app works reliably. That would be like if iMore didn't render on iOS devices. Yes, that's topical for a question from Windows Central on the Store: Windows Central, how about you start by fixing your own Store app, or at least acknowledge your failure in this area in the question, as in "Hey, we know we've dropped the ball here too, but frankly, we'd like to know if any of you even use the Store and care."
  • They need to fix that app if they are going to keep that feature built into the app to work to open the link from the web in the app.
  • Seriously? The Microcrap store is totally useless. Apart from the fact that it doesn't really contains any apps worth having it's so buggy it's unbelievable. Search is useless. Etc. etc...
  • I disagree with the app parts. There are none worth really?
  • I'm guessing based off that person's username that they're not the best person for reasonable discussion. The Microsoft Store has a lot of great apps.
  • At least the anti's allow discussion. The SJW side labels contrarian opinions biased & illegal to say or print. And try not to earn & accumulate too much money, because they're itching to take most of it anyhow. But I digress.
    MS Store has 'lots of apps'? 99.9999999999% of apps for Windows are of the non-Store variety.
  • WTF are you talking about?
  • Dude, what planet are you on? SJW's aren't an authoritarian government anywhere but in your delusions.
  • No one can take you seriously when your username is AntiSJW and you say stupid stuff like Microcrap.
  • Yes it needs improvements but it gets the job done for me.
  • Taking the app gap out of the equation. I've always found Microsofts stores to be worse than android market/google play. Mainly for me because the web versions of microsoft stores (windows pc/phone and xbox 360 and xbox one) just suck. They always require many clicks to get where you want to go or purchase, compared to the simplicity of google play. Why is there a totally different looking web store for xbox 360 titles vs xbox one? But it's not even just microsoft stores, basically any microsoft website that requires logging in is always kludgy. If I had a penny for how many times I tried logging into a microsoft owned website where all I get is a blank white screen, having to refresh or try logging in again, I'd be able to treat myself to something nice. I've only handled ios products maybe less than 5 times, so I can't comment on that experience, but I'm sure it's also better.
  • I agree but I think they've made big strides in the past couple years. In the last six months or so the Store app and the website look and work alike, which is ideal. And the weird and random glitches have stopped for the most part. Still lots of work to be done - your point is well taken.
  • All these scroggle scrubs claiming their chromebooks and laggdroid apps are any better lol. Why does ANYONE expect that a relatively new store on Windows, which has years of history, will house all the apps in just, what, 4 years? Like literally, most of the apps are old. It takes a long time to move all the apps to a new platform. Look at the Mac App Store. Quite a “failure too” then, huh? Apple have the same problem. You can’t just swiftly move all the apps to a new store with a new app. The difference with iOS and Android, is that they STARTED with a store from the beginning. Therefore, they do not deal with the problem. And why is this article comparing MS Store to mobile stores??? Microsoft has moved on from mobile, and they’re focusing on PC apps and much more. This isn’t a mobil store, but a PC store. Start comparing it to the Mac App Store and the Chromebook Store (Whatever it’s called).
    And UWP is not dead. As I’ve said, moving to a new platform is hard and a difficult transition. Once everyone is on Windows 10, and Windows 7 is dead, it will be a lot more attractive to build UWP apps, since it will be available for everyone (Not gonna happen soon since MS just gonna give extended support. Grow some balls MS 😒). You guys literally needs to chill. Give the Store some time, instead of comparing it to mobile stores. And these scroggle scrubs need to leave. Chromebooks has absolutely no market share outside the US. Remember, America is not the whole world lol. Ask any European what a chromebook is, and they’ll ask if it’s a guide on how to use chrome lol.
  • Could you please translate all that?
  • Basically, in 4 years MSFT still does not know how to catalogue the books they have for sale in a reasonable search order. But who knows in 4 years they will get it figured out. On the other hand, we used to buy software at a retail store. Software companies decided to get your email and offer you an upgrade to your software. You will be lucky to find software at a retail store. So, the WinTel ecosystem is trying to move from a retail store purchase eexpereince to a digital store purchase expereince. Since this requires the whole ecosystem to adapt, it will take time. iOS and Android avoided all this because they went from nothing to apps for smartphones.
  • Hey look at that! A common sense comment.
  • How? I mean half of it was nonsense, he got some good points in there eventually, but it was a whole lot of waffle.
  • I did jot read the full comment thread so I apologize if this was stated but using the store directly for games surfaces tablet experiences. If u want to use the store for play anywhere or pc games fire up the Xbox app and then open the store inside of that. My one gripe with that would be that cortana and by that I mean adding her and cognitive ai to the app the way groove curated play lists would be a huge boon for the store as she could curate what u see based on what u own across devices or looked at on them. And that could include android through the your phone connection.
  • I use the Store a lot because I like automatic updates and easy install/uninstall like in mobile OSes. But it's got problems. The Store itself is buggy. As others have mentioned, search is terrible. Really bad. I've had installation problems too. And MS's own apps are often buggy or bad or simply unavailable, which is terrible. But fix those problems and the MS Store becomes a no-brainer. The convenience is unparalleled. And there are plenty of good apps and games these days, and the scammy apps are dwindling. The author did not mention the Mac app store. I think a comparison there would be useful.
  • "I use the Store a lot because I like automatic updates" - Agreed! Though a number of my desktop installs do an update check, there are still many that I would have to check myself by going to their site. The app store makes this process a whole lot easier. I can't agree with the ease of uninstall/reinstall/repair. I have had apps kind of go rogue and I had to do a lot of manual steps to remove enough of it from secret locations in order to do a relative clean re-install to get it working again. This can happen with the traditional installations, but I haven't had that kind of issue in years until recently with an app store app. Admittedly, I am torn if given the choice between a traditional install and a Store install which one I would go with. So far I still lean towards a full install on my main PC and a Store install on my tablet where possible. Main reason I hear the store installs are better at energy consumption. True?
  • Interesting to read about your experiences. Personally I haven't had uninstall/reinstall/repair issues with Store apps that weren't fixed with a one-time repair or reinstall. But many Store-only apps I find to be buggy, and I don't think that's about the Store but about the developers not being on the ball. If a Win32 app is repackaged for the Store, I don't think it's more energy efficient. It's more convenient, but it's the same application as if you downloaded it from their website. (Examples: WinSCP, Inkscape) Personally I get the Store app every time because of convenience. I wish Stata and R Studio (with R) were in the Store.
  • The MS Store is a solid C-/D+ in my book. It's not bad if you use basic apps like Spotify and Twitter. But what really marks it down for me is the lack of personal finance apps. And by "personal" finance I also include small businesses that have from 1 to 5 employees. Microsoft touts itself as a platform for productivity. But what possibly could be more "productive" than personal finance? And yet where are the following?
    . Mint
    . Quicken, Quickbooks (or any other accounting software from any company)
    . TurboTax (or any other Tax Software form any company)
    . Any major credit card app
    . Any major online brokerage app (eTrade? Charles Schwab? Ameritrade?)
    . And if they can't figure out a way to entice the above companies, where is Microsoft Money for crying out loud?
    . SquareCash, Venmo, Paypal (How can a small business like a coffee shop, hair salon, food truck, or a Saturday market stand take payments on their Surface Go without these?) The Microsoft Store is utterly useless when it comes to the needs of small businesses who care about revenues and expenses and families who care about things like investments, budgets, and saving for their kid's college.
  • I totally agree with the finance app situation. I wish MSFT would build a cloud based general ledger and allow people to build a software/app template ontop of this cloud based service. I would pay $10 a month. Azure gets $1, the developer ges the rest, less if he has to pay Bank of America to allow acceee to a users accounts. Quickbooks and Quicken will never go to the store. They are legacy systesm with their own distribution system and dont need the MSFT Store. further they are trying to go cloud and premium. I wonder if BofA is using the code underlieing Cortana to power Erika on BofA systems? But I think you are touching on the central problem. The WinTel ecosystem was established before the internet was open to the consumer. iOS and Android grew up well after qnd only on smartphones. So, you are correct that WinTel has a hard time attracting small business/mom and pop store users.
  • "How can a small business like a coffee shop, hair salon, food truck, or a Saturday market stand take payments on their Surface Go without these?" They do it by buying an iPad.
  • I've been a Windows user/programmer since the mid 1980's. Recently (in the last 4 months) I bought a Mac mini and a MacBook Pro and submerged myself in all things IOS and OS X. When it comes to the App Store for OS X (desktop), Microsoft Store wins hands down. There is no first party app for Netflix, Hulu, Facebook, Amazon Prime, Pandora or Twitter. In order to use these products I am forced to rely on the browser. I'm sure there are many others as well. Coming from using apps for these products in Win 10, I can assure you that I truly miss the apps.
  • I started buying books on the store about a year ago. I preferred the reader on Edge over Kindle. However, Kindle has more books. But for now I just stick to what I can find on Microsoft. The search function on the store for books has gotten better over time.
  • I think they should drop themes and just have wallpapers, bring back music, and put the browser extensions on the web/in the browser.
  • Ive kept my GO in S mode to see if I can survive using the M Store. It's been super buggy lately. Often, when I click Install, there is a 2 to 4 minute delay before the download begins. I also get the - something went wrong from our end - error. Very frustrating. I could never use this system for work....to many things missing, but it's ok for home use.
  • I have had a peak at the MS store, I did download a couple of things, like a facebook app, but it was too much like a mobile app and i prefer the browser anyway.
    I have noticed they have some products in that are better these days, like Affinity photo, which I have got, but I got mine direct from Serif, before it was put into the store, but even so I doubt I would have got it from MS store. My problem is if I have a problem with this machine and want to use a second one with Windows 8 on then I am stumped, also the fact is this is a computer, not a tablet or a mobile phone. I do not like the way computers are going, that includes the MAc as well, where they are being treated like a mobile phone.
  • My Surface Laptop and Surface Go have had to be switched out of S mode due to the unavailability of certain apps. For the Laptop, the lack of Turbo Tax meant switching to full Windows 10 Pro mode so the software could be downloaded from the Turbo Tax website. Both devices need to be able to communicate with a Kyocera TASKalpha 2552ci 4-in-1. The drivers for this device were not automatically available for Windows devices. A rep for either the leasing company or Kyocera had to come to the location with the drivers loaded onto a thumbdrive and download the files directly to three Surface devices plus my Laptop & Go. If the drivers were available in the Microsoft Store, I could run my Go in S mode as all other loaded apps came from the Store. 🙁
  • I agree with what you are saying. I'm a school teacher. We use interactive SmatBoards. There is no app for these in the M Store, no drivers for my GO in S mode, so it's a total non-starter for my work.
  • I may need to slightly redact my initial post. When connecting to the TASKalfa 2552ci...or most any modern printer....files stored in the device itself transfer to the computer. My guess is that Kyocera dropped the ball and doesn't have the complete driver set installed in the 2552ci, thus, the need to use a thumbdrive. Interestingly enough, our prior Kyocera was the TASKalfa 2551ci. That unit had the proper drivers in place from the get go. Also....our backup 4-in-1 unit (Canon imageCLASS MF733Cdw) was good to go right from the box.
  • The top paid apps is a joke... developers increase the original price (but who will pay $20 for an app like a pdf editor with poor features and buggy?) and apply a 50% discount on it (repeat every x days to be on sale all year). So that theses apps are always listed at the top paid apps (easy to be top paid when people think they are making a good deal but in fact the price is just overpriced compared to the qualities of the app)... and of course, listed on apps sales / special whatever. For the rest it's fine, there are more and more quality applications. For those who still think that Store Windows = Windows 10 Mobile, they still have not understood anything.
  • The more I think about it, the more I think the Microsoft Store will follow the same fate as Windows Phone, Groove, and other failed Microsoft products. Here's why.
    Let's go back a few years...say 20. Back in 1999, my kids were in Elementary/Middle school. The big debate back then in the Education/Tech world was whether to stock the schools' computer labs with Macs or with PCs. There long meetings of Parent Advisory Committees and PTAs about fundraising, and debates would rage about which hardware/ecosystem should be chosen. Some principals/admins were Mac people; some were PC people. Our local University was split down the middle; there were equal numbers of Macs and PCs in the labs.
    Fast forward to 2019: the PCs in our school/district are mostly gone. The debate now is whether to buy more iPads, or more Chromebooks. The only people using PCs are in the business office, in admissions, student records, accounting etc. The students are either in the Apple ecosystem or in the Android ecosystem. When they pull out their iPhone after school, it looks and acts just like their iPad that they've used all day and they go into the iStore. Or...when they pull out the Android phone, It looks and feels just like the Chromebooks they've used, and they go into Google Play store. There are no kids going into the Microsoft Store. Why would they? Microsoft is only on their radar when they use their Office 365 apps. Luckily, Apple let Office into their ecosystem a few years back; otherwise, the kids wouldn't know anything about Microsoft. In our school and district, Office 365 actually has found some traction and is probably a bit more popular than Google Classroom the G-Suite. For our students, Microsoft=Office 365. There are no visible adds on TV, YouTube etc touting the Microsoft Store. The kids don't care about Azure. You may think 'well, they are just kids in Middle School'; in 8 years, when they'ver going into University, they're not suddenly going to switch to Microsoft and flock into the Microsoft Store. This entire generation has no need for the Microsoft Store, and won't in the future. Sadly, I think the store will end up just like Window Phone...
  • That is a compelling argument. Microsoft really lost its way when it gave up on the mobile market. Sure, there is Surface Go and perhaps the Surface line itself, but the phone is what nearly _everyone_ has in their pocket/bag. With the loss of of Windows Phone, there is no compelling reason to write Win apps anymore.
  • I understand your argument, but as a person working at a large US university, I can tell you that there isn't a single undergrad who doesn't own or at least regularly work with a personal computer (PC or Mac). You cannot seriously pursue an undergraduate degree (or higher) without a real computer. Mobile devices are not a realistic replacement, even after seven or eight years of manufacturers (starting with Samsung) promoting split-screen-capable tablets for productivity and inking. It is the limiting nature of mobile operating systems that make them inappropriate for serious computing (although they're great for things like inking and for reading and, in a pinch, basic computing). Developers of software for the wide array of productivity activities are not going to abandon the desktop/laptop form factor for the foreseeable future. The fact is, you need a mouse/trackpad and a keyboard and software designed for that kind of computing environment. The only relevant question is, will they ever embrace the Windows Store? And the answer to that is: they probably have to at some point, since Windows wants to phase out Win32, and they will. And it won't be a catastrophe.
  • Azure isn't ever going to be relevant to consumers. It's a developer platform. The whole point of it is that it's invisible to the end user. And you know, this cycle will play out over and over with different companies on top. If we have a mass shift to consumer AR in 5 to 10 years, with HoloLens holding significant market share, MS's Store will be very relevant. And they'll be better positioned for having worked out the kinks with it before that transition, rather than having an unstable platform going into it.
  • So that's for a 326 million people market. The other 7.3 billion people never heard about Chromebooks. And all these kids in the US on iPads and Chromebooks go to universities and flock the industry and then notice that the real work is done on Apple computers (6% market share) and Windows computers (92% market share). So the kids that have only been given Chromebooks and iPads by their parents in the US will have a 15 year backlog when they start to work in the real world.
  • Hopefully, Microsoft switch to chromium will fix the app gap... Microsoft really needs to get those chromium based pwa’s into the windows store to catch up with andriod and apple... nobody was interested in supporting wierd uwp/edge html browers incompatibilities...
  • It is much better now than a couple of years ago. I use the store whenever possible. Mainly for the automatic update. I also discover new apps by just browsing the store and this is handy.
  • Ok. Can we please get over this app crap. Apps are double-dumb-ass for larger form factors. Apps were invented because web sites in 2007 just didn't work for small screens with no mouse. You needed a specialized native application just for the small screen, very limited processing power, and touch interface. With tablets and laptops, you don't really need apps. The browser is where most work is done. I'm typing this on a Surface Go and using Edge. Native applications will always still have a place though. Native apps will be for heavily used workflows, high performance, efficient battery use, and hardware access. PWA will be for everything else. For the native apps that do need to be built, Microsoft has the best development platform for the future. UWP was designed from the beginning to be cross form factor (which included screen size and input mode). An iOS app cannot really be used on a Mac, even if they bring those apps over to Mac. Mac doesn't have touch, 3D touch, and swipe gestures, so the iOS apps will not be ideal on a Mac. I've never really understood the point of an app store. You will be able to get a PWA app just by navigating to a sites URL in a browser. It just makes more sense to get it that way. Apple kind of brain washed us all on apps and an app store. I'm not sure an app stores still make sense for a multi-form factor OS. I don't see why you can't get a UWP app direct from a third party supplier.
  • PWAs are not the answer for everything. They are also not exactly everywhere at this point. I would rather search an App Store than the internet for software. Typically I am searching by function, not company name or website address, neither of which I am likely to know. I might know the name of the app, when it is recommended, but rarely who makes it.
  • So the internet has self-organized around selling win32 apps and we have never had a problem finding the software. There is no reason why we need a store to find PWA, UWP, and Win32 applications. Microsoft could list certified UWP apps on their web site if you are worried about bogus apps. When Apple introduced the store concept back when the iPhone came out (I think that is the approximate time line), I cringed at the concept that Apple would get a cut of all the software sales. It seemed like a really controlling, domineering, and monopolistic thing to do. It seemed almost anti-American at least from a capitalistic value system. People should be able to develop, market, and sell themselves their software. People should be able to organize to sell other peoples software (i.e. retailers). This should all be able to take place without having to give Apple or Microsoft a cut of their software sale. Also, I wanted to add a comment about store app counts. How many apps do you think the Apple store has? Zero. That is right, they have zero apps. To be clear about how I am counting the apps, I'm really just considering apps ready for the future. In the very near future, you will be able to take your phone out of your pocket, plug in a Thunderbolt cable that powers the phone and hooks up to a 4K monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Your apps that you just ran on your phone with a tiny screen and touch, now is running on a huge screen with a mouse. Apple doesn't have a single app that can handle this. If developers have been paying attention, their UWP apps, particularly the ones that initially targeted mobile with Continuum utilization, should be able to handle a multitude of form factors. Apps of the future need to be form factor agnostic, and Microsoft is trying to give developers the tools to do this.
  • Starting a win32 in 2019...
    1. need a website to host installer and service/software introduction.
    2. need advertisements to build your own distribution network, like Adobe used to do in the last 30 years.
    3. need checkout / account managing system if you want to sell your software.
    4. need a background service in user's machines, checking message, updates and all that.
    5. mustn't do clean uninstallation.
    6. risk breaking user's system.
    7. need to catch up older APIs, if you care about older windows.
    8. need to fight cracks, cyber-attack, etc.
    9. pretty much need to give up on IOT, AR, MR, Xbox and ARM64 (big, small or dual-screen) PCs.
  • Slow. Like. A. Snail.
  • Why should we care? I'm not sure Microsoft does. They seem to have no interest in fixing current Windows problems before creating new ones, and I still just will never believe they've done everything possible to get the top apps from iOS and Android over to Windows. I just don't believe they've turned over every rock and showed the urgency and desperation they should to get these apps. Then what play do they even have in the non-Win32 world? Surface Go is probably the only viable hardware they have that people who normally prefer apps to full programs would be interested in, and it need a lot of improvement. I will never believe they are doing everything to get apps. At this point why does it even matter? They jumped the gun on abandoning W10M, and they don't know if they will be able to make any mainstream successful Surface devices
  • I think the microsoft store is fine. I trust it more. I see the store as a safer way to look for apps, than looking around the internet and navigating challenging websites and have to overthink twice for pressing the download button out of uncertainty of downloading a scam. For the mobile and tablet pc market I think the store has been a great experience. I still miss that developers don't invest much in adhereing to microsoft guidelines in making a tablet UI frindlier design. I think it helps for both tablet pc usecases as well as daily productivity on desktop devies, because it helps with a more cleaner UI. I like productivity with a less is more UI. It distracts less, compared to a spaceship dashboard type UI with buttons everywhere.
    In terms of apps I don't think it has improved much. It is still more of the same. I had high hopes for PWA, but I'm disappointed about the "low level" offline caching of app content. The advantage of PWA for me is being able to consume content or the ability to use a web app offline. But the the amount of page and subpages being cached for offline use is poor. I hope microsoft can offer better and "deeper" multipage offline caching for a more enjoyable experience.
    I personally still miss a lot of high quality medical apps, that iOS enjoys. I think it is a clear gap in the app gap space on the microsoft store. A critique of microsoft's store business model is that it works best with a registered account and creditcard to use the store. I know many friends and familiy that don't use the microsoft store at all simply due to the relative inaccessibility of the store for users that don't want an email account linked to their windows, let alone register their PayPal or credit card. I think the bar should be lowered for local windows accounts to be able to access and download the free apps without the hastle of signing up and registering a credit card account. A lot has to do with a distrust and fear of being scammed in the store. By lowering the bar hopefully more users can trust the microsoft store as a good one stop safe shop. Other critique I have is that Microsoft is poor in regional and local payment support. It's currently either PayPal or creditcard. In the Netherlands many average pc users use online banking and use ideal. It is arguably the most widely used payment method in the country. By not supporting this method, Microsoft is potentially excluding users from their store. Microsoft should work on improving online payment accessibility. Simply offering only credit card and/or PayPal raises the bar of accessibility for the average user.
  • As a lifetime Microsoft user (at least since PCjr in 1984) this whole article comes across like Commodus in Gladiator explaining to his father that he has "virtues" - "You wrote to me once, listing the four chief virtues. Wisdom, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance. As I read the list I knew I had none of them. But I have other virtues, father. Ambition, that can be a virtue when it drives us to excel. Resourcefulness. Courage. Perhaps not on the battlefield but there are many forms of courage. Devotion, to my family, to you. But none of my virtues were on your list."