Build 2015: Microsoft Will Allow Desktop Applications in Windows Store

Posted on April 29, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 0 Comments

Build 2015: Microsoft Will Allow Desktop Applications in Windows Store

When Microsoft debuted the Windows Store in 2012, it offered users a safe, secure and reliable new app platform, but it also mostly ignored the millions of more dangerous, but more powerful, desktop applications out in the world. But with Windows 10, the software giant has reached an acceptable middle ground: it will now offer desktop applications in the store, and will do so without compromising the customer experience.

“There are over 16 million .NET and Win32 apps in the desktop ecosystem,” Microsoft executive vice president of operating systems Terry Myerson told me. But Microsoft isn’t interested in becoming a new download location for the world’s desktop applications. Instead, it will curate the desktop applications that are made available through the store, as its done with Modern and universal apps.

As important, it will ensure that those applications offer many of the key benefits of Windows Store apps today. They will be quick and easy to install. They will also be quick and easy to uninstall. And they will be isolated from the rest of the system, or sandboxed, so that they cannot be used as vectors for attack, or otherwise impact your devices in negative ways.

How Microsoft will do this is fairly obvious, if you’re familiar with this technology. It will use an evolved version of its Application Virtualization (App-V) solution from the enterprise-focused Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP). Basically, developers will need to package their applications in App-V containers, which should be pretty straightforward in most cases. Administrators and IT pros have been doing this for years.

“Windows Store still offers the same promise as ever,” Myerson told me. “This is the evolution of App-v at Internet scale. It’s proven technology.”

During the Build 2015 keynote Microsoft showed off Adobe Photoshop running in a such a container, and Myerson told me that Photoshop Elements and Premier Elements would both be available in the Windows Store later this year.

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