Microsoft is copying the App Store’s worst feature for Windows

The app store on Windows, known as the Microsoft Store, received a much-needed overhaul just in time for Windows 11. Soon it will look even more like the app stores on iPhone and Android – damn it.

Microsoft announced many upcoming Windows features and changes at today’s Build event, some related to the Microsoft Store. The Store will soon be open to all Win32 apps, meaning more software can be distributed through the Store, and Android apps will be available in more countries.

Microsoft also said, “Based on feedback from the developer community, we are soon testing new developer tools to help reach the right customers at the right time. Using Microsoft Advertising, developers will be able to create, run and display advertising campaigns in the Store, improving app visibility and conversion. In other words, prepare for ads in the Microsoft Store.

Microsoft Store Ads
Microsoft Store ad example (see ‘Ad’ indicator on “Contoso Suite”) Microsoft

Microsoft already promotes some apps and other content on the Store in a similar format to ads, especially on the homepage, but the company will now allow developers to run ads for their own apps. Ads will only be for “published content” on the Microsoft Store, so you won’t see an ad for a Steam game or an iPhone game in the store, but you will see ads on the search page and other pages .

Apple allows app developers to create advertisements that appear on specific searches in the App Store, which are typically targeted to competitor app searches. The Google Play Store also has ads, but they’re not as noticeable – they might appear at the bottom of an app listing (in a section called “Related to this app”), or in search without the large previews found on Search in the Apple App Store.

App Store ads on an iPhone

Ads on Apple’s App Store have been the target of criticism for years, with users complaining they’re intrusive and advertisers saying they’re too expensive compared to other forms of advertising. It’s unclear if Microsoft can avoid these issues to some degree, but either way, the now-improved Store is about to get a little worse.

Source: Windows Blog (1, 2)

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