Considering how long it took many of us to be wrestled away from the clutches of Windows XP – the 2001 operating system has only just succumbed to Windows 7 in US market share last month – it may surprise users to learn that Windows 8 is just around the corner.
Rumours are still mounting up across the internet following the leak of an early version of the new operating system, and a series of screenshots supposedly showing an App Store in Windows 8 have flamed speculation that Microsoft is moving towards a more controlled app model for its new operating system.
We reported the possible intentions that Microsoft have to bring the App Store to Windows 8 as early as last summer, and many believe that Microsoft is making its intentions clear by continuing to oppose Apple’s ‘App Store’ trademark, dismissing it as ‘too generic’. Is the Apple way the right way though, or is Microsoft simply surfing happily along the current wave of app stores flooding the digital market at the moment?
When the design of Microsoft’s Windows App Store leaked in screenshots on the net a multitude of analysts criticised the company of being unoriginal, with the images looking incredibly similar to the new Mac App Store recently released for Mac OS X 10.6. There are only a number of ways that one can show off apps within a window, however, and other stores such as Google’s Chrome Web Store follow suit in the same way.
Although it may be the right move for closed mobile operating systems such as iOS and Windows Phone 7, is it necessary for the App Store trend to overspill on to the worlds most used platform? Before the Mac App Store was released, I had many criticisms over the model, complaining that it simply placed more power in to the hands of big companies and away from small developers who would be restricted by the proviso that they would have to comply with the rules set out by Apple for being allowed on to the store.
The same principle has made it easier for users of Ubuntu to find and install applications without all that sudo apt-get-install nonsense that will send new users running away at full pace. Many new users will be more inclined to use the Software Center (far better name than App Store as well, in my opinion…) than become a Terminal whizz, so why shouldn’t inexperienced Windows users have the same comforts?
There’s also the issue of pricing. When the iPhone App Store came along, the prices of portable games shot down. Many would barf at the prospect of paying just £5 for a game from the store now, whereas only a few years ago people flooded high street shops such as Game to pay £30 for the latest. Make no mistake, those days are over. Prices on the Mac App Store tend to be lower than on the developers website, making users more inclined to buy programs, which can only be good news for the eco system as a whole.
So what’s the answer to my original question? Is Microsoft heading in the right direction if it releases the Windows 8 App Store? You can judge for yourselves, but as far as I’m concerned it’s an unequivocal yes. I for one can’t wait to see more of Windows 8, and as I do you can be sure I’ll bring it to your screens, so keep an eye out!