With Windows 8 general availability less than three months away, the race is on for Microsoft to get more applications into its the Windows Store that is part of the new Windows 8 operating system.
I haven't seen an official tally from Microsoft, but Jose Fajarado, a Silverlight and XAML developer who blogs at http://advertboy.wordpress.com, said at latest count he believes there to be about 450 or so Metro-style apps in the Store. (Metro-style apps are those developed from scratch using Microsoft's WinRT programming interfaces. Nothing but Metro-style apps will work on ARM-based Windows RT devices; both Metro-style and Win32 apps will work on Windows 8 on Intel/AMD PCs and tablets.) The image embedded in this post is from a wall of icons of apps available in the Store that Fajarado is constantly updating.
The vast majority of apps already in the Store are games and other consumer-focused offerings, which isn't too surprising, given Microsoft is targeting Windows 8 at consumers more than businesses right out of the gate. Microsoft has been looking to recruit developers of all stripes via workshops, bootcamps and proof-of-concept development programs for the past few months. The company is holding its second Build developers conference in late October, when it is expected to provide more details and guidance to developers about how to write apps for Windows 8.
In addition to releasing to manufacturing the final Windows 8 bits yesterday, Microsoft also announced the official opening of the new Windows Store to qualifying businesses wanting to sell paid apps. To do so, businesses need to have their accounts registered and verified by Microsoft.
More Windows 8 news
In order to upload apps to the Store, developers need a final build of Windows 8. The earliest most developers will be able to get their hands on that build is August 15, when Windows 8 RTM bits will be offered to MSDN subscribers (with a trial version available to those with a TechNet subscription). Until that point, Microsoft is advising developers to "keep building your apps using the Release Preview," which is the Windows 8 build Microsoft released in May.
For individuals, rather than companies, looking to submit apps to the Store, Microsoft is not yet offering a plan of action beyond "stay tuned."
In September 2011, Microsoft said that only Metro-Style apps would be available for download and purchase directly from the Windows Store. Win32-based apps that are not written to the new WinRT interfaces can be advertised in the store, but users will be directed to external sites to download and purchase those apps.
Microsoft has said it will take 30 percent of the revenue of any app purchases occurring through its Store. The fee drops to 20 percent for any app that achieves $25,000 (or foreign equivalent) in total revenue for the lifetime of the app. Microsoft is allowing developers to price apps for sale through the Windows Store for anywhere from $1.99 to $999.99.
Yesterday, Microsoft added 54 new markets to its catalog listings in the Store, as well as 24 new app certification languages.