MS Goes The Appian Way
Remember going to a store to buy software? Umm, no, me neither actually -- but it used to happen. I have a copy of Office 2007 to prove it, but in the years since all my software has been downloaded from various sources.
But those sources are usually the vendor's own page -- from games to apps, utilities to endless protection products and enterprise 2.0 apps, it can all be done digitally. Now though, Microsoft has seen Apple making gentle gains from its App Store that moved from iPhone to Macs, and is now heading down the same route. Having just launched its own Windows 8 blog, news is slowly coming out about what the OS will feature.
Windows 8's tablet interface might be a good starting point for a store design
There are already several high-profile PC download services like Steam and Electronic Art's recent Origin for games downloads, but no one clear place to go shopping for applications, utilities and other essentials. Hopefully Microsoft will work alongside any existing sales systems rather try to bulldoze over them and corner the market.
App Don't Ape
Microsoft will naturally aim for one store to cover its Windows 8 OS tablets and Windows Phone 7 successors as well as PCs and possibly other devices such as the Xbox Console (which already has a decent games store, but rather weak movie and music offerings).
From apps, it is not too far of a stretch to see Microsoft linking in its existing PC media offerings for a rounded experience. Mark Rein, CEO of Epic Games, tweeted his (nicely succinct) thoughts on the news. "Hopefully it means every single Windows 8 PC will have a pre-installed, trusted, curated, easy-to-use app for buying software."
But will it find a unique selling point or proposal for developers to make it worth their while and move away from their current own-stores/sites where much of their business is done? Certainly being able to see reviews and ratings across the PC software space will be more attractive than scouring endless discrete reviews or forums for the relevant details.