To be clear I'm a Windows developer and I'm also involved in the development of AppWhirr, an alternative app store for Windows (from XP). Everything I write here is my personal opinion as a developer and I have a great understanding of the store concept since I'm a developer of one.
My concern regarding the new centralized Store based model introduced in Windows 8:
By the information available it seems that the only source of Metro apps will be the Windows Store for most of the users.
And it means: only those Metro apps which Microsoft accepts can be installed to Windows 8 and only with the terms Microsoft provides. It can prevent a huge amount of great opensource or simple free apps to appear in the store.
There are existing app stores for Windows even for Win XP. A few example: AllMyApps, AppWhirr and Intel AppUp. Each with slightly different concepts and advantages. These stores are competing with each other and competition forces innovation, constant improvements and competitive pricing.
In case the Windows Store will be the only allowed source of Metro apps it will shut out competition and it's bad for the whole ecosystem. For example if it forces app pricing to 'align' with the Store's policy and they don't want to allow pay-what-you-want or donation-ware pricing they simply won't allow it and developers have to accept this. If they want to keep 30% of the app revenue they can. If they raise it to 50% you (as a developer) have to pay it or you won't be able to distribute your Metro app anywhere else.
I love Windows for it's openness and that it allowed so many simple but powerful utility / tool apps. These are the small missing pieces of Windows what made it the perfect productivity system (at least for me). With the new centralized Store forced policies Metro apps won't have the freedom of 'traditional' desktop apps.
- Edited by Viktor Benei Wednesday, June 13, 2012 6:49 PM
Additional notes for the topic:
I'm using Windows 8 Release Preview and tried both Developer and Consumer Preview as well. RP works really great I'm getting used to the Metro surface as well (although without non-fullscreen Metro apps I'll still spend my time mostly on the Desktop part).
I really like what Microsoft does with Windows and proper touch support tends to be more and more important, but I'm really concerned about the closed Metro app ecosystem - as a developer and as a (power) user as well.
Additionally the 'one and only store allowed' approach carries another threat: it won't help with the already significant problem of app discovery. There are more and more apps in the stores every day and it gets harder and harder to get great ones. Top-lists elevate only those apps which are already popular and doesn't help indie, small budgeted but sometimes real life saver apps to get traction.
An affiliate link system will help this but affiliate based services can not integrate with the store as tightly as real store can.
And app discovery is a really important thing both for users and for developers alike - and as more and more apps will appear this problem will be more and more significant.
- Edited by Viktor Benei Sunday, June 17, 2012 11:32 AM
So true Viktor. You as a programmer identified this early on. I'm an end user of software on windows platform. In a few months of using win8pro this was my requirement. I wanted to know other developers who will have good software but are restricted by this Store requirement. Top of that win8pro user is expected to shell out money to sideload a metro centric app which is not published on the Store. Ridiculous. This was what UAC did to winVista.