Microsoft finally admitted what we’ve known since early last year: It will kill off the Microsoft Stores for Business and Education.
“The Microsoft Store for Business and Microsoft Store for Education as you know them today will be retired in the first quarter of 2023,” Microsoft’s Joe Lurie announced. “There will be no support for Microsoft Store for Business and Education on Windows 11.”
News of the demise of the Microsoft Stores for Business and Education was first reported by Mary Jo Foley about a year and a half ago, in January 2020. I’m sure the global pandemic that erupted about a month later played a role in Microsoft delaying its official announcement, but it’s pretty clear that the resulting decision to replace Windows 10 with Windows 11 also provided a new timeline for the change.
Anyway, Microsoft says that customers can continue to use the current capabilities for free (but not paid) apps until the first quarter of 2023, on Windows 10. And admins can still deploy apps to managed Windows 10 PCs until those apps retired in 2023.
So what’s replacing these stores? It appears to be a combination of the new Microsoft Store “experience,” which is coming to both Windows 10 and 11, and the Windows Package Manager, which now supports Group Policy.
“Organizations can also choose to integrate directly with the open set of Windows Package Manager APIs to build their own solution to meet their needs and for unmanaged devices,” Lurie explains. “You can still centrally manage apps and deploy them to your Windows 10—and, later this year, Windows 11—endpoints. Windows Package Manager can simplify the process. [And] when ready, you can then use Intune or your [unified endpoint management (UEM)] solution to easily manage both your public and private application catalogs.”
That sounds like a lot of work. In fact, it sounds like the reason one might want Microsoft Stores for Business and Education.
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