Microsoft’s Windows 8 will introduce an application marketplace like Apple’s App Store for OS X. The app store can be tried in the recently released Windows 8 Consumer Preview build and looks like the web and Zune marketplace for Windows Phone. In an article posted on the Windows Store blog, Antonie Leblond has explained the fine print about purchasing apps from the end-user’s perspectives. (Windows 8 tablets based on the ARM architecture will run apps installed via the marketplace only.) Leblond talks about the licensing of apps bought from the store. Here are some details:
- According to Microsoft’s option to developers, free app trials can last for 1, 7, 15, 30 days or forever
- A tiny ‘x’ will appear on the app’s tile indicating that the app has expired
- The expired app cannot be installed on the same PC under another user ID either
- Settings for apps purchased after using the trial will be preserved
- The app store will support in-app purchases
- In-app purchases can have limits too; once expired the user will have to explicitly purchase the in-app feature again, no auto-renew option
- Apps once purchased can be purchased on not more than 5 PCs
- Family PCs count as “Shared PCs” and apps can be installed on systems signed-in using your family members’ accounts
- To install on a 6th PC you will have to de-link a PC from your Microsoft account
- A vaguely worded line in the post says, we will have to wait for 5 days before installing an app on a 6th PC if a recently added PC was de-linked
- App updates are free—it’s that simple
A Chinese website has leaked a couple of screenshots, which allegedly show the Windows App Store in action. While it is prudent to take any leaked information with a pinch of salt, it’s pretty safe to bet that Windows 8 will include an app store. Back in June 2010, we had stated as much, based on leaked confidential information. The new screenshots are also consistent with the ones leaked (and ridiculed) on the Neowin forums. Moreover, almost every other desktop operating systems of note (Mac and Ubuntu) already has an inbuilt application repository.
To be honest, the Windows 8 app store appears to be a mash up of Windows Media Player and the Mac App Store. It will include free and paid content from a large number of third party developers. What is unclear at this moment is whether automatic update for all applications, which has been a long standing demand of Windows users and developers, will also be included.
The other point of interest is the name of the app store. In the screenshots leaked by Neowin, the software center is titled as “Windows App Store”. If that is indeed that actual name, one can bet that Apple won’t be too pleased about it. Apple believes that it owns the trademark for “App Store”, and is already suing Amazon.
As we get closer and closer to the public beta of Windows 8, expect the volume of leaks to steadily increase. In fact, the Chinese website believes that the app store is almost ready, and will be made available to beta testers soon.
Update: Bad news folks. The leaked screenshots have been confirmed to be fake.