Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Microsoft Store Supports Alternate App Stores

Juli Clover:

Microsoft today announced that it is opening up the Microsoft Store for Windows to third-party storefront apps, including the Epic Games Store and the Amazon Appstore. Epic and Amazon's stores will be discoverable on the Microsoft Store for Windows and can be downloaded like any other app.


Two major Apple competitors, Google and Microsoft, now support alternate app installation options on their platforms, something that could potentially sway regulators working on antitrust legislation in the United States and other countries.


Update (2021-10-05): Jesper:

When I heard the original part of the Windows 11 announcement, I got the sense that the Microsoft Store would become either a store “platform”, where other people could host Microsoft Store-shaped objects or a browser, through which other stores could be federated. Making the separate stores available for download through their store itself (which is mostly what it all comes down to) is a reasonable way to cut this Gordian knot.

But here’s the thing. Alternative Android stores, alternative Windows stores — they already exist. They have existed for years, the technical platform has existed for years, all issues have been ironed out or known for years, and the major tide has been closing an open system (for Android, “anyone can do anything”, for Windows, “Microsoft can’t build a regular application cooler than you can” (literally)).

For Apple, the starting point is the complete opposite.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

Oh goodie! Now Google and Microsoft are even more opaque to the unsuspecting user.

Wait, what? Google has always allowed for side loading apps and even whole store fronts. This is not new. Decade old news.

Windows could do this too, the only difference is the app stores are now downloadable from the Windows app store itself, instead of "side loaded".

Good news is not bad news. More choice is better than less choice. I'm sorry a subset of mass market computer users have become so consumer hostile. I get Apple's point of view here, they like money, and controlling everything on iOS is their way to insure easy profit taking. Rent-seeking vs innovating. But why do so many consumers back this viewpoint, they don't benefit from it. Only investors benefit and if the people championing Apple's approach are actually investors, they should disclose their conflict of interest.

> why do so many consumers back this viewpoint

Because there's a case to be made that many, many consumers actually feel safer in the restrictive iOS ecosystem.

The story is a lot more complicated than "Apple bad, freedom good".

Also, let's not kid ourselves. Microsoft isn't doing this out of goodwill. They're doing it because their attempts to mimic the iOS model failed miserably (as did, arguably, the Mac App Store). It didn't work in Windows Phone, nor in Windows RT, nor in Windows 10 S.

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