The app store on Windows, known as the Microsoft Store, received a much-needed overhaul just in time for Windows 11. Soon, it will become even more like the app stores on iPhone and Android — to a fault.
Microsoft announced many upcoming features and changes to Windows during today’s Build event, some related to the Microsoft Store. The store will soon be open to all Win32 applications, meaning more software can be distributed through the Store, and Android apps will be available in more countries.
Microsoft also said, “based on feedback from the developer community, we’re soon piloting new developer tools to help reach the right customers at the right time. Using Microsoft Advertising, developers will be able to create, run and view ad campaigns in the Store, improving discoverability and conversion for apps.” In other words, get ready for advertisements on the Microsoft Store.
Microsoft already promotes certain apps and other content on the Store in a similar format to ads, especially on the home page, but now the company will allow developers to run ads for their own apps. Advertisements will only be for “published content” on the Microsoft Store, so you won’t see an ad for a Steam game or an iPhone game in the store, but you will see advertisements on the search page and other pages.
Apple allows app developers to create advertisements that appear on specific searches in the App Store, which are usually aimed at searches for competitors’ apps. The Google Play Store also has advertisements, but they aren’t quite as noticeable — they can appear near the bottom of an app listing (in a section called “Related to this app”), or in search without the large previews found on the Apple App Store search.
Advertisements on the Apple App Store have been the target of criticism for years, with users complaining they are intrusive, and advertisers saying they are too expensive compared to other forms of ads. It’s unclear if Microsoft can avoid those problems to an extent, but either way, the now-improved Store is about to get a bit worse.
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