Microsoft Store (digital)

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Microsoft Store
Microsoft Store app icon.png
Microsoft Store on Windows 10
Microsoft Store on Windows 10
Other namesWindows Store
Operating systemWindows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, Xbox One
ReplacesWindows Marketplace, Windows Phone Store, Xbox Video, Xbox Music, Xbox Store
Service nameWindows Store Service (WSService)
TypeApp store, online music store

Microsoft Store (formerly known as Windows Store) is a digital distribution platform sponsored by Microsoft. It started as an app store for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 as the primary means of distributing Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps. With Windows 10, Microsoft merged its other distribution platforms (Windows Marketplace, Windows Phone Store, Xbox Video and Xbox Music and eventually Xbox Store) into Microsoft Store, making it a unified distribution point for apps, digital videos, digital music, and console games. e-books were included until 2019.[1] Some content is available free of charged from the store.

In 2015 over 669,000 apps were available on the store. Categories containing the largest number of apps are "Games", "Entertainment", "Books and Reference", and "Education". The majority of the app developers have one app.

As with other similar platforms, such as the Mac App Store and Google Play, Microsoft Store is curated and apps must be certified for compatibility and content. In addition to the user-facing Microsoft Store client, the store also has a developer portal with which developers can interact. Microsoft takes 30% of the sale price for apps. Prior to January 1, 2015, this cut was reduced to 20% after the developer's profits reached $25,000.



Microsoft previously maintained a similar digital distribution system for software known as Windows Marketplace, which allowed customers to purchase software online. The marketplace tracked product keys and licenses, allowing users to retrieve their purchases when switching computers.[2] Windows Marketplace was discontinued in November 2008.[3]

Windows 8[edit]

Microsoft first announced a digital distribution service for Windows at its presentation during the Build developer conference on September 13, 2011.[4] Further details announced during the conference revealed that the store would be able to hold listings for both certified traditional Windows apps, as well as what were called "Metro-style apps" at the time: tightly-sandboxed software based on Microsoft design guidelines that are constantly monitored for quality and compliance. For consumers, Windows Store is intended to be the only way to obtain Metro-style apps.[5][6] While announced alongside the "Developer Preview" release of Windows 8, Windows Store itself did not become available until the "Consumer Preview", released in February 2012.[7][8]

Updates to apps published on the Store after July 1, 2019 will not be available to Windows 8 RTM users. Per Microsoft lifecycle policies, Windows 8 had been unsupported since 2016.[9]

Windows 8.1[edit]

An updated version of Windows Store was introduced in Windows 8.1. Its home page was remodeled to display apps in focused categories (such as popular, recommended, top free and paid, and special offers) with expanded details, while the ability for apps to automatically update was also added.[10] Windows 8.1 Update also introduced other notable presentation changes, including increasing the top app lists to return 1000 apps instead of 100 apps, a 'picks for you' section, and changing the default sorting for reviews to be by 'most popular'.

Updates to apps published on the Store after July 1, 2023 will not be available to Windows 8.1.[9]

Windows 10[edit]

Windows 10 was released with an updated version of the Windows Store which merged Microsoft's other distribution platforms (Windows Marketplace, Windows Phone Store, Xbox Video and Xbox Music) into a unified store front for Windows 10 on all platforms, offering apps, games, music, film, TV series,[11][12] themes,[13] and ebooks.[14]

Get it from Microsoft badge as of 2017

In September 2017, Microsoft began to re-brand Windows Store as Microsoft Store, with a new icon carrying the Microsoft logo.[15] Xbox Store was merged into this new version of the platform.[16]

Web apps and traditional desktop software can be packaged for distribution on Windows Store. Desktop software distributed through Windows Store are packaged using the App-V system to allow sandboxing.[17][18]

In February 2018, Microsoft announced that Progressive Web Apps would begin to be available in the Microsoft Store, and Microsoft would automatically add selected quality progressive web apps through the Bing crawler or allow developers to submit Progressive Web Apps to the Microsoft Store. [19][20]

Windows Server[edit]

Windows Store is available in Windows Server 2012 but is not installed by default.[21] It is unavailable in Windows Server 2016. However, line-of-business UWP apps or UWP apps acquired from Microsoft Store for Business (formerly Windows Store for Business) can be installed through sideloading.[22][23]


Microsoft Store is the primary means of distributing Windows Store apps to users. Although sideloading apps from outside the store is supported, out-of-box sideloading support on Windows 8 is only available on the Enterprise edition of Windows 8 running on computers that have joined a Windows domain. Sideloading on Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro, and on Windows 8 Enterprise computers without a domain affiliation, requires purchase of additional licenses through volume licensing.[24] Windows 10 removes this requirement, allowing users to freely enable or disable sideloading.[25]

Initially, Microsoft took a 30% cut of app sales until it reached US$25,000 in revenue, after which the cut dropped to 20%. On January 1, 2015, the reduction in cut at $25,000 was removed, and Microsoft takes a 30% cut of all app purchases, regardless of overall sales.[26] Third-party transactions are also allowed, of which Microsoft does not take a cut.[27] In early 2019, Microsoft lets app developers get 95% of app revenues, while Microsoft will only take 5% but only if user will download the app through a direct URL. [28] Individual developers are able to register for $19 USD and companies for $99 USD.[29]

In 2015 over 669,000 apps were available on the store, including apps for Windows NT, Windows Phone, and UWP apps, which work on both platforms.[30] Categories containing the largest number of apps are "Games", "Entertainment", "Books and Reference", and "Education". The majority of the app developers have one app.[31] Both free and paid apps can be distributed through Microsoft Store, with paid apps ranging in cost from US$0.99 to $999.99. Developers from 120 countries can submit apps to Microsoft Store.[32] Apps may support any of 109 languages, as long as they support one of 12 app certification languages.[33][34][35]

On April 2, 2019, Microsoft announced that the sale of e-books on Microsoft Store had ceased. Due to DRM licenses that will not be renewed, all books will become inaccessible by July 2019, and Microsoft will automatically refund all users that had purchased books via the service.[36][1]


Similar to Windows Phone Store, Microsoft Store is regulated by Microsoft. Applicants must obtain Microsoft's approval before their app becomes available on the store. Prohibited apps include those that:[37][38]

  • Contain content or functionality that encourages, facilitates or glamorizes extreme violence or other illegal activities.
  • Contain "excessive or gratuitous" profanity
  • Contain content that a "reasonable person" would consider obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit
  • Contain content that encourages or glamorizes "excessive or irresponsible use" of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, or weapons.
  • Contain politically sensitive or politically offensive content
  • Contain content that is offensive or illegal under the laws or norms of countries or religions that the software is targeted towards
  • Contain content which advocates or encourages discrimination
  • Contain defamatory content
  • Are a safety risk or can cause discomfort or injury to users and/or others
  • Violate intellectual property rights

The following types of app are forbidden:

Microsoft has indicated that it can remotely disable and/or remove apps from users' systems for security or legal reasons; in the case of paid apps, refunds may be issued if this is done.[40]

Microsoft initially banned PEGI "18"-rated content from the store in Europe. However, critics noted that this made the content policies stricter than intended, as some PEGI 18-rated games are rated "Mature" on the U.S. ESRB system, which is the next lowest before its highest rating, "Adults Only". The guidelines were amended in December 2012 to remove the discrepancy.[41]

Popular apps[edit]

These are the most popular apps and games on the Microsoft Store on Mobile and PC.

Most Popular apps and games on PC[42][43]
Rank Apps Games
1 iTunes Candy Crush Soda Saga (installed silently without user consent)
2 Spotify Hidden City: Hidden Object Adventure (installed silently without user consent)
3 Netflix Caesars Casino (installed silently without user consent)
4 Instagram ROBLOX
5 Messenger Minecraft for Windows 10
6 Facebook Asphalt 9: Legends
7 Microsoft Sticky Notes March of Empires: War of Lords
8 Hulu Candy Crush Saga
9 Whatsapp Desktop Microsoft Solitaire Collection
10 Pandora Seekers Notes: Hidden Mystery
11 Slack House of Fun Slots Casino
12 OneNote Slotomani- Free Casino Slots
13 Adobe Photoshop Express Sniper Fury
14 Honey Disney Magic Kingdoms
15 VLC Asphalt 8: Airborne
16 TED Forza Horizon 4 Ultimate Edition
17 Readtit Age of Empires:Definitive Edition
18 Sway Gear of War 4
19 Picart THe Walking Dead: Season 1
20 Twitter Farming Simulator 18
21 [Power Director 9] Stat Of Decay 2: Ultimate Edition
22 Affinity photo Minecraft Story Mode: Season Two
23 Affinity Designer Demon Hinter 2: New Chapter
24 Mixer Go Euro Truck Simulator 2017 Pro
25 Tik Tok ReCore
26 Kodi Bonfire Stories: The Faceless Gravedigger
27 Plex Assassin's Creed Pirates
28 Hotspot Shield Wenjia
29 Stronghold Kingdoms: Castle Sim
30 Bigo Live Instnt War
31 Linkedln Phantom Trigger
32 We Chat for Window StarTraders:Frontiers
33 Office Lens Asphalt 9: Legends
34 Pinterest Sniper Fury
35 Samsung Flow Hill Climb Racing
36 Cricbuzz Traffic Rider 3D
37 Saavn Music and Radio OverKill 3
38 Sound Cloud
39 Dailymotion PUBG
40 Evernote Ludo King
41 Flipboard Cooking Fever
42 LastPass:Free Passward Manager Dead Rivals - Zombie MMO
44 Wikipedia My Talking Tom
45 Save To Pocket Iron Blade - Meadieval Legenda RPG
46 CNN Word Link
47 Quora Gangster - Guns of Boom
48 Splash Township
49 Drawboard PDF Smash Hit Ball
50 UC Browser Dragon Mania Legends
51 Blender Sunset Overdrive
Most Popular apps and games on Mobile[44][45]
Rank Apps Games
1 Facebook Candy Crush Saga
2 Netflix Candy Crush Soda Saga
3 Whatsapp Olympus Rising: Hero Defense
4 Instagram House of Fun Slots Casino
5 Messenger Township
6 Facebook (Beta) Dragon Mania Legends
7 Free Player for Youtube- Watch and Share Bingo Blitz - Free Bingo + Slots
8 Spotify Seekers Notes®: Hidden Mystery
9 Messenger (Beta) Bubble Witch 3 Saga
10 Pandora Subway Surfers
11 Video Player Downloader for Youtube Knife Hit Pro
12 Imo Free Video Calls and Text Hungry Shark Evolution
13 Viber World At Arms - Wage War for Your Nation
14 MyRadar Jewel legend
15 Xodo: PDF Reader and March of Empire: War of Lords
16 Telegram Modern Combat 5
17 Skype Angry Birds
18 Vine Temple Run 2
19 Line Machinarium
20 Yummly Hungry Shark Evolution
21 Shazam FIFA 17 Mobile
22 HULU Stickman Soccer
23 VLC Score! World Goals
24 Bloomberg Pool Tour Masters
25 Flipboard Pocket Tanks
26 Fuse Sniper Fury
27 Adobe Photoshop Express Dredd vs Zombies
28 Oneshot Baseball Riot
29 LastPass Flight Control
30 8 Zip Tap The Frog
31 Uber Cut the Rope (original + Experiments + 2)
32 Yelp Flow Free
33 Avis Epic Battle Dude
34 UC Browser HD Royal Revolt!
35 Evernote Battleloot Adventure
36 Ebay Rainbow Tangle
37 Amazon Store Chess By Post
38 Adobe Reader Subway Surfers
39 Instanote Spider-Man Unlimited
40 One Drive Sonic Dash
41 Office Lens Rail Rush
42 Slack (Beta) Despicable Me: Minion Rush
43 Readit Battery Guy
44 TED Crimson Dragon: Side Story
45 IMDB Air Soccer Fever Pro
46 Groove Music Zombie Anarchy
47 OneNote Rainbow Tangle
48 Edmodo Final Fantasy
49 Kahoot! Age of Cavemen
50 PicsArt Age of Empires: Castle Siege

Developer portal[edit]

In addition to the user facing Microsoft Store client, the store also has a developer portal with which developers can interact. The Windows developer portal has the following sections for each app:[citation needed]

  • App Summary - An overview page of a given app, including a downloads chart, quality chart, finance summary, and a sales chart.
  • App Adoption - A page which shows adoption of the app, including conversions, referrers, and downloads.
  • App Ratings - A ratings breakdown, as well as the ability to filter reviews by a region.
  • App Quality - An overview page showcasing exceptions which have occurred in the app.
  • App Finance - A page where a developer can download all transactions related to their app.

Developer tools[edit]

Microsoft Store provides developer tools for tracking apps in the store. One can track downloads, financials, crashes, adoption and ratings.[46]

The dashboard also presents a detailed breakdown on users by market, age, and region, as well as charts on number of downloads, purchases, and average time spent in an app. The dashboard also allows a developer to claim an app name for up to one year before the name is returned to the available pool.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Lee, Dave (April 4, 2019). "When this eBook store closes, your books disappear too". Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  2. ^ "Microsoft Adds Digital Locker To Windows Marketplace". CRN. The Channel Company. August 28, 2006. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  3. ^ Leonhard, Woody. "What do we really know about Windows 8?". InfoWorld. IDG. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  4. ^ "Keynote #1 | BUILD2011 | Channel 9". Channel 9. September 13, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2012.
  5. ^ "Microsoft talks Windows Store features, Metro app sandboxing for Windows 8 developers". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  6. ^ Rosoff, Matt. "Here's Everything You Wanted To Know About Microsoft's Upcoming iPad Killers". Business Insider. Archived from the original on January 22, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2012.
  7. ^ "Windows 8 Developer Preview Available Tonight". PC Magazine. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  8. ^ "13 New Features in Windows 9 Consumer Preview". PC World. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
  9. ^ a b Popa, Bogdan. "Microsoft Kills Off Windows 8 App Updates Earlier than Anticipated". softpedia. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  10. ^ Thurrott, Paul (June 17, 2013). "In Blue: Windows Store 2.0". Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows. Penton. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
  11. ^ LeBlanc, Brandon (April 9, 2015). "Delivering a single unified Store experience in Windows 10". Windows Experience Blog. Microsoft.
  12. ^ LeBlanc, Brandon (July 6, 2015). "Updates to Entertainment in Windows 10". Windows Experience Blog. Microsoft.
  13. ^ Sarkar, Dona (January 12, 2017). "Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15007 for PC and Mobile". Windows Experience Bog. Microsoft.
  14. ^ Sarkar, Dona (January 19, 2017). "Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15014 for PC and Mobile". Windows Experience Blog. Microsoft.
  15. ^ Warren, Tom (September 22, 2017). "Windows Store rebranded to Microsoft Store in Windows 10". The Verge. Vox Media.
  16. ^ "Xbox Store rebranding to 'Microsoft Store' on Xbox One". Windows Central. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  17. ^ Peter, Bright (March 3, 2015). "Microsoft's next attempt to fill the Windows 10 app gap: Web app apps". Ars Technica. Condé Nast.
  18. ^ Foley, Mary Jo (April 29, 2015). "Here's how Microsoft hopes to get Android and iOS phone apps into its Windows 10 Store". ZDNet. CBS Interactive.
  19. ^ "Microsoft is turning Progressive Web Apps into Windows apps". The Verge. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  20. ^ "Welcoming Progressive Web Apps to Microsoft Edge and Windows 10 - Microsoft Edge Dev BlogMicrosoft Edge Dev Blog". Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  21. ^ "Managing Privacy: Windows Store and Resulting Internet Communication". TechNet. Microsoft. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
  22. ^ Benisch, Derk (October 4, 2016). "Appreciating the Windows Server 2016 Desktop Experience". Nano Server blog. Microsoft.
  23. ^ Savill, John (October 5, 2016). "Get Universal Applications on Windows Server 2016". Windows IT Pro. Penton.
  24. ^ "How to Add and Remove Apps". TechNet. Microsoft. May 31, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2012. To enable sideloading on a Windows 8 Enterprise computer that is not domain-joined or on any Windows® 8 Pro computer, you must use a sideloading product activation key. To enable sideloading on a Windows® RT device, you must use a sideloading product activation key. For more information about sideloading product activation keys, see Microsoft Volume Licensing.
  25. ^ "How to sideload apps in Windows 10". CNET. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  26. ^ "Microsoft Changes Windows Phone Developer Agreement, Takes Bigger Cut". UberGizmo. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  27. ^ "Making money with your apps through the Windows Store". Windows Store for developers. Microsoft. July 20, 2012. Retrieved October 14, 2012.
  28. ^ "Microsoft Store Revenue Now Gives Developers A 95% Cut, On One Condition". Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  29. ^ Brix, Todd (November 6, 2013). "Unifying Developer Registration". Windows App Builder Blog. Microsoft.
  30. ^ "Microsoft by the numbers".
  31. ^ "AppFeds - Windows Store Stats".
  32. ^ Wilhelm, Alex (September 11, 2012). "The Windows Store is now accepting open app submissions from developers in 120 countries". The Next Web. The Next Web Inc. Retrieved January 9, 2013.
  33. ^ O'Brien, Terrence (April 18, 2012). "Windows Store slowly going global, 26 country specific markets launching with next update". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  34. ^ Leblond, Antoine (April 18, 2012). "Windows Store expanding to new markets". Windows Store for developers. Microsoft. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  35. ^ Kerr, Dara (April 18, 2012). "Microsoft's Windows Store goes global with 33 more countries". CNET News. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  36. ^ Etienne, Stefan (April 2, 2019). "Microsoft stops selling ebooks and will refund customers for previous purchases". The Verge. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  37. ^ "Windows Store Policies". MSDN. Microsoft. March 29, 2017. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  38. ^ a b "Microsoft formally bans emulators on Xbox, Windows 10 download shops". Ars Technica. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  39. ^ Bott, Ed (March 10, 2017). "Google Chrome won't be allowed on Windows 10 S". ZDNet. CBS Interactive.
  40. ^ Keizer, Gregg. "Microsoft: We can remotely delete Windows 8 apps". Computerworld. IDG. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  41. ^ Kerr, Dara (October 25, 2012). "Microsoft reverses 'Mature' games ban in Euro Windows Store". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  42. ^ "Most popular games - Microsoft Store". Microsoft Store. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  43. ^ "Most popular apps - Microsoft Store". Microsoft Store. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  44. ^ "Most popular games - Microsoft Store". Microsoft Store. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  45. ^ "Most popular apps - Microsoft Store". Microsoft Store. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  46. ^ "Using the Windows Store Dashboard apps". May 17, 2013.

External links[edit]