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July 28, 2015

Opening the Windows 10 Store for Developers

Today we’re making Windows 10 available to customers in over 190 markets and providing developers the tools they need to submit Universal Windows Platform apps and games to a single unified Windows Store.

The Windows 10 Store is the first app store in the industry designed to provide a single platform for delivering the full range of apps, games, software and services that generate an economy estimated at $300 billion annually to the many types of devices that people rely on today – PC, tablet, phone and soon IoT, console and holographic.1

As people rely on more types of devices they increasingly want experiences that are associated with them as users, not the hardware in their hand. The developer experience is becoming more device agnostic as well, which is why we’ve invested in a Universal Windows Platform that spans Windows 10 devices and bridges that enable developers to reuse code from other platforms to bring apps to Windows 10. Not only do we want to make it easy to bring apps and games to Windows, but we designed the Store experience to get those apps discovered and increase revenue opportunities.

Today I’ll summarize the biggest opportunities for the developer community in this initial Windows 10 upgrade (I have to learn to change my vocabulary now that the Store is an app), both for existing Windows developers and those checking out the platform for the first time.

One Store for all digital content

Those of you participating in the Windows Insider Program are already very familiar with the new Windows Store and what it offers a user, but allow me to highlight the changes that represent the most significant new opportunity for developers. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Store, you may want to check out this short video.

First and foremost is the expected Windows 10 reach of 1 Billion Windows 10 devices across PC, tablet, phone, Xbox, HoloLens, Surface Hub and IoT over the next 2-3 years. Those 1 Billion customers will experience a single Store across their Windows 10 devices where they’ll enjoy new and updated apps built on the Universal Windows Platform.

Second, customers now have access to the largest library of Microsoft certified digital content in a “one-stop” shopping experience with a broad selection of over 40 million songs with Groove, over 400,000 movies and the latest TV shows, plus an existing and continually expanding catalog of over 670,000 Windows apps and games.2

Third, the Store itself is now an app built on the Universal Windows Platform, enabling more frequent updates to add new functionality, refine the experience and address issues quickly.

Fourth, the Store user experience is all new – designed to engage customers with media-rich content, curated collections, personalized recommendations and new algorithms tailored to the Store vs. standard web search to enhance discoverability and enable users to easily find the most relevant, high quality content in the Store. It will take some time to tune the new algorithms so you may see some variance in your results.


Finally, increased reach and discovery don’t equal opportunity unless customers have a payment instrument to conveniently purchase your apps. Today on Windows 10 we offer traditional debit and credit card options as well as PayPal, Alipay, app gifting, gift cards and Bitcoin (US only). Later this year we will enable PC and tablet customers to pay via their phone bill with carrier billing – now available for our Windows Phone customers via 100 carriers across 57 markets. This represents a reach of 3 billion mobile subscribers; an increase of 40 carriers YoY. This investment is especially important to the developer community as 88% of the world’s population does not have a credit card (Source: World Bank, 2014) and carrier billing will enable these customers for the first time to participate in storefront commerce across Windows 10 devices.

Enhanced app discoverability – outside of the Store

To help new Windows 10 customers discover the Store and the content relevant to them, we are investing in enhancing app discovery and engagement outside of the Store itself and across the Windows experience.  As Windows 10 learns more about every user it will suggest information and content to help customers DO more in a way that is personal and relevant to them. Cortana, for example, will engage millions of customers with app recommendations based on personal interests and the Start menu will make suggestions from time to time to match users with apps Windows thinks you will enjoy.


To help developers promote and market apps, we’re also adding a few new capabilities every developer can configure and optimize themselves via the Dev Center including promotion codes (consistently one of the most requested features), per market pricing, app discounting and campaign tracking.

To help other people promote and market apps, Windows Store is now a part of the Microsoft Affiliate Program, as announced in April at Build. Operating in 50+ markets, the program lets people and organizations earn commissions by referring customers to any paid and freemium digital content they acquire in the Store. Affiliates are paid 7% commission for purchases made within 24 hours and in-app purchases from those downloaded apps within 14 days.3  Register today to start using the program to earn more.

Windows SDK and Dev Center

Later today the Windows 10 SDK with go-live license will be available and the Dev Center will open to accept Windows 10 app submissions – both for new and updated apps and games.

In addition to the new unified storefront, we’ve converged and are now opening the unified Windows Dev Center to create a single end-to-end developer experience across all Windows device types. The final stage of that Dev Center unification was to provide a single app submission flow and dashboard. Over the last few weeks we’ve achieved that goal, migrating existing developer accounts and opening traffic to new developers. As part of the unification, we’re bringing popular features to the entire developer community, including ‘Respond to reviews’ which was previously only available for Windows Phone. And, we’ve added a few capabilities to help the developer community get ready for future updates, including the ability to make the apps you submit today eligible for distribution to organizations when that storefront is available later this year. 

This is just the start

One of the advantages of Windows as a service and the Store as an app is that we can rapidly iterate and add new capabilities. In the coming weeks we’ll be rolling out the Microsoft Universal Ad Client SDK with support for video interstitials and Windows ad mediation, and over the next few months we’ll bring additional updates to the Store and developer platform adding bridges, subscriptions, a new storefront for businesses and organizations and much more. I encourage everyone to install the Windows 10 upgrade, check out the latest tools and register with Dev Center.

Finally, I’d like to say ‘thank you’ to every one of our 5M Windows Insiders and over 700,00 developers over the last 6 months who have shared suggestions, reported bugs or simply remained patient as we worked to add the features and capabilities that will make a difference for you. It’s mattered a lot and really helped us deliver a better experience for customers and the developer community. Keep the feedback coming.


1 Microsoft internal estimate of 2015 global apps, games, software, and services revenue generated across PC, tablet, phone and gaming consoles.
2 Catalog size and content availability varies by market.
3 New in-app purchases for content previously downloaded by the user do not qualify for the 14 days commission. Additional terms and conditions may apply.