When tech giant Microsoft released Windows 10 in 2015, they proclaimed it to be the last version of their signature graphical computer operating system that has seen multiple iterations since debuting for DOS in 1985. Rather than packaging software improvements and upgrades in a new OS version every few years or so, the changes will be introduced gradually in periodic “build” updates to Win-10, with the OS software being reimagined as a service instead of a product. But almost six years later, Microsoft announced Windows 11, a successor version to Win-10 available as free upgrade on compatible Win-10-using devices. Early previews of the OS highlight improvements to the online store.
As The Verge would have it, one of the things they and other tech news outlets have been impressed with regarding Microsoft Windows 11 since its announcement last June 24 has been its revamp of the Microsoft Store app. First released as Windows Store on Windows 8, its iteration on Windows 10 was not so warmly received on account of its bland user interface and its exclusivity. Developers were forced to create apps for Windows/Microsoft Store on Universal Windows Platform (UWP), with few exceptions given to major, non-UWP software apps.
That goes way with Windows 11’s Microsoft Store. In fact, those changes are already underway in the Store for the current Win-10 platform. Many “traditional” desktop apps have been getting on the bandwagon, with familiar names ranging from WinZip to Zoom to Adobe Acrobat Reader, and that is only since last week. The change from the rather closed-off UWP-only Microsoft Store began when Windows Package Manager was released last 2020. In addition, a nicer-looking UI and vast improvements in downloading speeds have been observed in Microsoft Store, particularly the version for Windows 11 which is currently on a beta period.
Just as Microsoft has turned Windows OS software from “product to service,” so are they now transitioning Microsoft Store into a frontend, allowing the possibility for other app stores nominally rival to Microsoft to become part of the possible offerings in the future. Gamers are cautiously optimistic following hints from Microsoft about allowing Epic Games Store and gaming platform Steam to set up shop in Microsoft Store. Not everything is peachy-keen however. Microsoft Store still has a multitude of so-called “junk” apps that tend to clutter the Top Free Apps section, something that has turned off developers for some time.
The new Microsoft Store can be checked out as soon as Windows 11 is released by Microsoft later this 2021. It is a free update to Windows 10, though it has slightly higher system requirements.
Image courtesy of Microsoft News