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Microsoft limits Windows 8 Metro apps to its own store

updated 12:20 pm EDT, Mon September 19, 2011

Windows 8 app store limits raise antitrust issues

Details just now coming from a developer session at Microsoft's Build conference last week have raised major concerns about the legality of the Windows Store. While it was already known the company would likely take a 30 percent cut for paid apps using Windows 8's Metro interface, Windows Store director Ted Dworkin is now known to have also told the audience that developers will be banned from offering Metro-optimized apps outside of the store. Apps written using classic Windows programming, including ones optimized for touch, wouldn't be subject to the same rules.

Similar to Windows Phone, apps would also be screened for the store, primarily to prevent viruses, as well as a five-computer limit during at least the development phase. It was already known that non-Metro apps wouldn't require a Microsoft royalty cut, although it's not clear if these will be filtered as well.

The approach is primarily intended to mimic the controlled policies of the Mac App Store and to some extent the iOS App Store, where Apple has argued that a "curated" experience is best to preserve the quality of apps. While Apple has restrictions on how licenses and code can run through the Mac shop, however, it doesn't preclude developers from selling apps written with a particular interface outside of the Mac App Store. In some cases, developers sell the same app both inside and outside of the Mac App Store with only a few necessary changes.

Microsoft's strategy is more restrictive and will limit apps using the officially blessed Windows 8 experience to its own store. While most likely intended to replicate the iPad model, it also negates the ostensible freedom of choice that Microsoft has usually tried to wield as an advantage on the desktop. Only Metro apps will have elements like "charms" to share their content as well as the full tiled interface.

Windows Store exclusivity could pose an antitrust issue for Microsoft. As it still has a monopoly in desktop operating systems, competitors may argue that it may be unfairly abusing its dominance to control the distribution of Windows apps. Apple is often accused of a similar strategy in mobile, but as the iPhone doesn't constitute a majority of that market, it's in no immediate likelihood of regulation.

by MacNN Staff



  1. ruel24

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Can Microsoft get any dumber? Seriously?

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    But but

    I thought the walled garden was a bad thing...

  1. qazwart

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    > The author of this electronista article is an idiot an obviously one of the anti-Microsoft news reporters out there.

    facebook_Aaron: I am sick and tired of this name calling. Not only that, but you're not even correct in your criticism.

    Did you read the WinRumors article? It says basically the same thing this article stated: Windows 8 Metro applications can only be downloaded via the Microsoft app store and no other app stores will be permitted.

    The "side loading" mentioned in the WinRumors article is for corporations that happen to own Win 8 tablets: Like corporations that own the iPad and iPhone, these companies will be allowed to side load proprietary apps into Windows 8 tablets. This isn't an avenue for consumers.

    The main thrust of the article is the change of heart at Microsoft in following the Apple model for App distribution. Previously, Microsoft has publicly criticized Apple's restrictive AppStore policy. Now, apparently Microsoft has seen its advantages and wants to duplicate it. That's the story in PCWorld, here, and in WinRumors.

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