Windows 8: New Windows Store Raises Concerns

Dennis Faas's picture

Tech analysts are questioning whether the new Windows Store will have enough software available when Windows 8 launches later this month. It could make it difficult to build momentum for such a big change in the way software is distributed.

Windows 8 will introduce people to a new way to acquire and install software. Until now Windows users acquired software from developers and used an installation tool provided to them by that developer.

Microsoft thinks there are a couple of problems with this process.

Firstly, software developers don't always follow Microsoft's preferences for the installation process, which often means that after uninstalling software traces are left behind. This can bog down a computer and hamper system performance.

Secondly, through the existing process Windows users have to hunt down software from different sources, potentially risking viruses if they visit rogue sites or install infected software.

Smartphone-Style Store Debuts With Windows 8

To circumvent these issues, Microsoft has devised a new way to install software using Windows 8. Users who switch to the familiar desktop display can acquire and install software as they currently do.

However, users who use the new tile-based interface (formerly known as "Metro"), which is now the default, acquire software through the Windows Store.

Under this system, users look through a catalog, choose an application, and then download it to their machine. For paid ads, Microsoft handles the payment, taking a cut before passing the money on to developers.

The problem is that Microsoft appears to be caught in a quandary: software developers won't bother making special Windows apps until they know they have a major potential audience, but Windows 8 users won't bother with the Windows Store until there's plenty of choice.

Windows Store Offers Just 2,000 Apps

As of the start of October there were only a couple of thousand apps in the Windows Store, with less than a month until Windows 8's launch date. Compare that to the 700,000 apps currently available through Android and Apple stores. (Source:

A shortage of apps could also hurt hardware sales. While people using traditional desktop and laptop computers can easily switch back and forth between Windows 8's two display modes (thereby ignoring Windows Store), some tablet devices will be based on Windows RT, which can only run the new interface.

These users will be forced to use Windows Store to acquire applications. If Windows Store doesn't have enough apps to draw the interest of consumers, you can guarantee that many people will avoid Windows 8 RT machines altogether. (Source:

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