In addition to the Windows Store for Windows 8 and future versions of Windows, the Office Store will service Office 2013 and its successors. It’s now live, Microsoft having pushed it out today. You can access the store here, if you are in the mood. All present apps appear to be free for the time being.
If you are familiar with the Windows Store, its layout, methods, and fees, you will feel right at home in the Office Store.
It’s interesting to watch Microsoft build out digital channels to sell software, as it positions itself as a toll collector between developers and consumers. All apps downloaded on Windows RT machines, for example, unless you are an enterprise customer who wants to side-load, will come from the Windows Store. That means you can’t head to ThisWindowsRTAppIsNeat.com and download yourself a copy. You can on machines running the full Windows 8, however.
Still, Microsoft will soon control a portion of consumer app spend on a level that is hard to compare to its past status. Microsoft used to sell Windows, and perhaps Office to consumers, and then let others hock applications and games, taking nothing in the process. The Windows Store is changing that. The Office Store also has the potential to increase Microsoft’s revenues as a portion of third-party add-ons for its Office suite.
Greedy? In a sense, but not painfully so, unless you are an impacted developer. Consumers are now more than familiar to purchasing applications from app stores, and are, I suspect, less accustomed to going out and finding them through their browsers – Download.com eat your heart out. Microsoft almost had to play along with the market trend. The fact that doing so will make it billions is almost a happy side effect.
Some developers are vehemently opposed to the moves, as is to be expected. If you were doing great with Windows 7, Windows 8 is only going to cut into your action, by forcing you into the Windows Store where a fat cut of your monies will be curtailed and sent to Redmond.
The Xbox LIVE Marketplace, the Windows Store, and the Office Store make it plain: Microsoft wants to control the pipes by which software is delivered to consumers that use its platforms. Pay the tollman, or get out.