What you need to know:
- The Microsoft Store is getting several new features soon.
- Users will be able to restore all of their apps from another PC with one click.
- There's also a new ad platform for developers, and more.
Microsoft Build 2022 is upon us, which means there's lots of news coming out of Redmond that's all about the app story on Windows 11. Of course, a huge part of that app story is the Microsoft Store, which was rebuilt from the ground up last year alongside the launch of Windows 11.
Today, the company is announcing new Store features for developers and end-users, all designed to make building, discovering, and acquiring apps easier for everyone. The first big new feature coming soon to the Microsoft Store app is a "Restore apps" feature that users will be able to find in the "My Library" area of the Store app.
The restore apps feature will be tied to your Microsoft Account and will be most useful when switching over to a new PC. Once you hit the desktop, users will be able to head to the Microsoft Store and easily install all the apps that were installed on their old PC with a single click.
Microsoft is also doing work to better surface Microsoft Store app listings in other parts of Windows 11. For example, if you search for Spotify in the Windows Search bar, Microsoft will present the top result as the Microsoft Store listing instead of a third-party website.
Announcements for developers
For developers, Microsoft has announced that the ability to submit unpackaged Win32 apps is now available for all developers with a Windows app. No longer will you need to join a waitlist for approval first, great news for indie developers.
Additionally, Microsoft is announcing several new features designed to help developers update their apps and better control who can find them:
- Automating Store Submissions. Using the new GitHub Action or Rest APIs, developers will be able to automate and manage app submissions directly from their CI/CD build pipeline. Microsoft PowerToys is a great example.
- App visibility. Developers can now make their Win32 apps undiscoverable, to test them with a small group before going live, for example.
- App telemetry. Developers can now access new analytic dashboards to get more insights about their Win32 apps, to understand their user acquisition funnel, app usage, health metrics, and install success analytics.
- App reviews. Developers can now engage with and respond to reviews on Win32 apps.
There's also a new ad platform for developers looking to promote their app in the Microsoft Store. These ads will be placed at the top of search results in the Microsoft Store, similar to how the Apple Apple Store and Google Play Store have "sponsored" listings at the top of search results some times.
Finally, Microsoft notes that the new Store apps have gotten off to a great start. Since its launch, "thousands" of new apps have been submitted by developers, including big hits such as Adobe Express, Audacity, OpenOffice, Firefox, and much more. In the first quarter of 2022, the company notes it saw a massive 50% increase in new desktop apps and games being submitted to the Store.
Be sure to check out all the news coming out of this year's developer conference on our Build 2022 page!
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