November 20, 2014 10:01 am

Windows 10: A Store That’s Ready for Business

I’m excited to share this next chapter in our Windows 10 blog series, focused on enhancements we are making to the Windows Store – all of which are designed to help organizations acquire, create and deliver apps the way they want. This is a logical follow-up to our post on manageability choices in Windows 10. We believe that our Store investments, when combined with manageability innovations, will result in a Windows Store that is ready to meet the evolving needs of organizations of all sizes.

One unified app store across devices, one great experience

First, as we talked about in September, with Windows 10 we will deliver one Windows Store for all Windows devices. This unified Store will offer tremendous benefits for commercial software developers, enabling them to offer universal Windows apps that can be used across phone, tablet and PC form factors. For organizations, the unified Store will also offer a new web-based Store portal that will allow IT administrators to browse the app catalog and acquire apps in bulk.

Increased choice, flexibility and control for business

We get a lot of valuable feedback on the Windows Store from a variety of customers. One thing that we have heard a lot, particularly from our business and education customers, is that they want to be able to use organization-controlled identities with the Windows Store. And I’m happy to let you know that in Windows 10, we are able to deliver on that ask. In Windows 10, IT administrators can access a new web-based Store portal specifically for organizations – and can do so by signing in with an Azure Active Directory identity. Apps acquired through the portal can then be assigned to people in the organization, who need only to click on a link to install the apps. This will provide organizations with a controlled and customizable experience specifically for their members.

We know that large organizations usually run their own private company portal to present a catalog of apps; this is typically managed by tools such as System Center Configuration Manager and hosted on an internal network. In Windows 10, Windows Store apps that are acquired through the new Store portal can be displayed within private company portal, with API-level integration between management tools and the Windows Store to obtain full details of the apps, including descriptions, requirements, icons and more.

And, on the other hand, we see a lot of smaller organizations that do not have the infrastructure to create their own company portal. With Windows 10, they will be able to create their own private section within the Windows Store for their apps – apps that have been acquired for members of the organization through the Store portal, or their own uploaded custom line of business apps. Within this private section of the Store, an end user can easily browse a customized Windows Store and install only the apps they want, from the selection chosen for them by their corporation.

New mobile device management capabilities

With Windows 10, organizations will also be able to fully control Windows Store features and distribution using System Center Configuration Manager, Microsoft Intune or via mobile device management (MDM) services. This includes the ability to install and uninstall apps, control app updates and manage app licenses. Because the app licenses acquired through the Store portal belong to the organization, we’ll provide capabilities for organizations to reassign those licenses as needed. We also recognize that some organizations need to install apps on devices that do not have Internet access. Organizations will be able to download the app installation files from the Store portal and include them in custom Windows images, deploy them in run-time provisioning packages or automatically install them from an on-premises server using System Center Configuration Manager or MDM services.

If you haven’t yet done so, sign up for the Windows Insider Program and install the Windows 10 Technical Preview today. The Store portal and new app distribution and management capabilities will be available in the coming months. You can see a sneak peak of some of the scenarios and initial Store portal designs in the second half of Michael Niehaus’ session from TechEd Europe on this topic. While it’s still early in the Windows 10 development cycle, we do encourage you to try out your existing Windows applications and software packages on the current preview builds and provide feedback on any issues encountered through the Windows Feedback app. We want to ensure that application compatibility remains strong as we progress towards the final Windows 10 release.

Updated November 20, 2014 5:59 pm