The Microsoft Store first debuted with Windows 8, giving Microsoft’s desktop operating system an official app store for the first time. But many of the most popular Windows apps haven’t been available in that store for a variety of reasons.
With Windows 11 set to debut on October 5th, Microsoft is launching a brand new version of the Microsoft Store that will support a wider variety of apps (including Win32 desktop apps as well as Universal Windows Platform Apps and Progressive Web Apps). Users will also be able to install Android apps thanks to integration with the Amazon Appstore. And now Microsoft has revealed that the Microsoft Store supports other third-party app stores as well.
The company says that “over the next few months,” the Epic Games Store and Amazon Appstore will both become available through the Microsoft Store, suggesting that neither will be there when Windows 11 first launches. But we already knew that Android app support wouldn’t be included in Windows 11 on day one anyway (Microsoft says it plans to begin rolling out Android app and game support to members of the Windows Insider preview program “soon”).
Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from downloading the Epic Games Store or other app stores from their own websites. But using the Microsoft Store means that you can allow the store to handle automatic updates for all of your apps… including third-party app stores. It’s also nice to have a one-stop-shop for all the different things you might want to install on your PC, and while we’re not quite there yet, this move does bring us a little closer.
And the move also helps set Microsoft apart from some other companies (like Apple), which have rules against submitting app stores to their… app store.
The company also notes that its move to allow Win32 app developers to submit apps without rewriting them has led to a new wave of apps showing up in the Microsoft Store, including Discord, Zoom Cloud Meetings, Teamviewer, and LibreOffice. And the company no longer restricts web browsers to using the same browser engine as Edge, so Opera and Yandex have brought their apps to the Microsoft Store.
While the new store experience will roll out first with Windows 11, Microsoft says the updated Microsoft Store will also be available for Windows 10 “in the coming months,” but it’s likely that some features (like support for Android apps) may remain Windows 11 exclusives.