More apps, more stores, more money: Windows 11 is a win for developers

Windows 11 Start Laptop Razerbook
Windows 11 Start Laptop Razerbook (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Windows 11 features a new Microsoft Store and new options for app development.
  • The Microsoft Store will allow developers with their own commerce platforms to keep 100% of revenue.
  • Win32, UWP, PWA, and even Android apps will work on Windows 11.

Microsoft announced Windows 11 today, and while its new features are important, some of the biggest news isn't about what Microsoft made; it's about what developers will make to run on the new operating system. Windows 11 has a new Microsoft Store (which will also come to Windows 10), new developer options, and even support for Android apps through the Amazon Store. All of these add up to a platform that's intended to be much more alluring to developers. Microsoft outlined the improvements and changes in a blog post.

More types of apps

Windows 11 Android App Store

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Microsoft wants apps in the Microsoft Store, and it doesn't seem particularly bothered about what types of apps those are. Starting today, developers can use Win32, .NET, UWP, Xamarin, Electron, React Native, Java, and Progressive Web Apps packaging technology to get apps published in the Microsoft Store. That means that many developers don't have to change how their app works to get it into the store.

With the surprise announcement of Android apps on Windows 11 through the Amazon Store, developers have yet another way to get apps onto PCs. Windows 11 will be able to run Win32, UWP, PWA, and Android apps.

For years, many major Microsoft apps weren't in the Microsoft Store. That won't be the case anymore, as Teams, Office, Edge, Visual Studio are on the way to the Microsoft Store. Even Paint and Notepad will be available through it.

Microsoft also managed to get some major app makers on board already. Disney+, TikTok, Zoom, and the Adobe Creative Cloud will all be available through the Microsoft Store.

More ways to find apps

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

The Microsoft Store was redesigned from the ground up with a new interface that has more room to show off apps. Stories are on the way to the store as well to highlight apps with editorial content. This should help with discoverability, which is a big reason to get an app onto the Microsoft Store.

For some developers, discoverability isn't an issue. Services like Spotify and Netflix don't need the Microsoft Store to get the word out about their apps. So here's how the Microsoft Store engages those parties.

With Windows 11, people who find an app directly through a website will be able to use a "pop-up" store to download the app through the Microsoft Store. For example, when people go to Spotify's website and click on the Microsoft Store download badge, a window from the Microsoft Store will pop up that lets people install the app.

With support for Android apps through the Amazon Store, people will be able to search for apps through the Microsoft Store and acquire them through the Amazon Store.

Notably, Amazon apps do not support Google Play, but the long-term plan is to get more Android stores into the Microsoft Store. As explained by our executive editor Daniel Rubino, "That could mean Samsung and even Google Play down the road as Amazon alone is not the end goal."

More money

Windows 11 Store New Adobe

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Microsoft could roll out all of the app-related features in the world, but it wouldn't matter much if using the Microsoft Store wasn't profitable for developers. Some developers have avoided the Microsoft Store because they didn't want to give up any revenue. The thought process being, why give away any percent of revenue when people can just grab an app from a website?

That shouldn't be an issue anymore, as developers can keep 100% of their revenue on Windows 11 if they have their own commerce platform. The change means that companies like Adobe can have the Adobe Creative Suite in the Microsoft Store.

The option to use third-party commerce platforms will be available starting July 28.

A smart play to win back devs

Windows 11 Start Surfacepro

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

In the past, Microsoft may have wanted all developers to fully embrace UWP and hop on over to the Microsoft Store. That never happened. But instead of remaining fixated on developers rejecting the Microsoft Store and certain app technologies, Microsoft made a major shift when it comes to app development.

Opening the Microsoft Store to more types of apps and more packaging technologies is a bold move in the new direction. Supporting Android apps should help fill some gaps and get some big-name apps onto PCs. Allowing developers to keep 100% of their revenue when they use their own commerce platform is a strategy that shows that Microsoft isn't penny wise and pound foolish. It's finally recommitted to the Microsoft Store.

For the full scoop on what Windows 11 means for developers outside of all things Microsoft Store, check out Microsoft's blog post that details the Windows App SDK, simplified game development via a now-publicly-available GDK, and much more.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

16 Comments
  • Regarding the inclusion of the Amazon Android App Store and the author's speculation that the goal is to get other ones as well, like Samsung's Android App Store, I'm surprised that Amazon, Microsoft, and Samsung don't just team up to create one unified Android App Store to stand out as a viable alternative to Google Play's monopoly over the market.
  • I could see Samsung doing that under DJ Koh.
    Unfortunately Samsung's new CEO, TM Roh, is a dweeb who has taken Samsung several years backwards and put them again on the path of being Google's little b*tch and limiting the company to copy whatever dumb thing Apple does.
    Just look at what Samsung did with their wearables. They had the only good alternative ecosystem of wearable devices to Apple. And they will shut it down to adopt Google's failed sh*tshow of an OS, the artist formerly known as Android Wear. I do hope the adoption of the Amazon App Store will lead to a robust development of that and the creation of a true alternative to Google's de facto monopoly. Unfortunately, I don't think it'll happen.
    Windows users don't touch the Microsoft Store let alone another one with apps from another operating system. Windows is about programs. Not apps. I don't see that changing anytime soon.
  • It'd definitely be a smart play for Amazon, Microsoft and Samsung to unite in building a competitor to Play Sore, so I'm gonna hazard a guess they don't do it because such a play would take time to bear fruit and before that happens Google would threat them with denying access to Play Services and Play Store, which would be a big screw to Surface Duo and Galaxy phones sales.
  • "and the author's speculation that the goal is to get other ones as well, "
    Your assumption it is speculation is incorrect 😉 I think Samsung coming on board, at some point, is a very real possibility. All of this is just starting. Let's see how people even like having Android apps on PC. It could go nowhere.
  • "Let's see how people even like having Android apps on PC. It could go nowhere." I'd definitely appreciate being able to play Plants vs Zombies 2 on my Surface Pro. That said, it's not a game currently available on the Amazon app store, so I guess it'd still be a while even after the feature arrives.
  • I don't know if there's a prohibition by the Feds, but I think MS would be otherwise smart to join China's GDSA - at least for certain markets. It'd probably fill in the gaps from the Amazon Store and give MS access to region specific apps that may not be useful to the US market but critical to many countries.
  • Just FYI, we do actual reporting here. If it was speculation, I'd tell you it was speculation.
  • From Microsoft blog post, they say the new store will also be available for Windows 10. Your article make it seem it will be exclusive to W11.
  • Lol at the idea of these changes alone bringing many more developers into the store.
  • The Adobe Creative Cloud, the entire Amazon Store, and more are already on board.
  • "For years, many major Microsoft apps weren't in the Microsoft Store. That won't be the case anymore, as Teams, Office, Edge, Visual Studio are on the way to the Microsoft Store. Even Paint and Notepad will be available through it." Yeah, no, seriously, finally. The Windows Store experience has been terrible in many ways and that was one of the top ones.
  • I wonder if the Judge overseeing the Epic vs Apple case is paying attention to these new Microsoft Store changes. :-)
  • I had the exact same thought!
  • Difference is, the new Microsoft Store will allow 3rd-party CDN, you can download another store from Microsoft Store. And Microsoft won't charge for it. It just listed there but apps on another CDN will of course not managed by Microsoft Store. New Microsoft Store is more closer now to Linux Repo like the likes of Ubuntu Software Center where it's a store where you can even download Steam from it. Its funny that Windows 11 is bit more "Linux-like" in a way. Heck we can run Linux GUI apps using WSL2. Year of Linux Desktop I guess is actually happening, but on Windows.
  • I glad to see all these interesting things going on but all they talk about in the development section was UWP and pwa.
  • "I Microsoft may have wanted all developers to fully embrace UWP and hop on over to the Microsoft Store. That never happened." It's been happening, but really solely now with Windows 11 and all the windows 10 devices it's going to blow up really big now