Microsoft Needs a Store That’s as Good as Windows 10

Posted on February 5, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 0 Comments

Microsoft Needs a Store That's as Good as Windows 10

This week, Microsoft provided some real numbers to bolster its claims of success with Windows Store. But it’s not clear they’ve made their point, or that the central issues with the Store have ever been addressed.

Take for example this interesting little tidbit:

“Windows 8.x still accounts for the majority of Store downloads.”

That makes no sense at all, does it?

Actually it does. To understand why, consider the following. I noted in Windows 10 Usages Pushes Past That of Windows XP that Windows 10 usage still trails that of Windows 8.x. So you might argue that Windows 8.x achieving more Store downloads makes sense. But it doesn’t. Microsoft has in the past touted the fact that Windows Store engagement has gone up dramatically with Windows 10. If that were true, Windows 10 downloads should already exceed those of Windows 8.x, given how close the two systems are in usage.

It is in this area—engagement—where I see the big weakness with Windows Store. There’s just no there … there. It is the most lackluster of the big app stores (including Apple’s and Google’s), with the fewest apps and games, the fewest high-quality apps and games, and the most woeful presentation to the user. And while we’re all sort of pretending that something has changed between Windows 8.1 and 10, with regards to the Store, it really hasn’t. Not materially.

Despite the chicken and egg nature of this thing—user drive developers, developers’ apps drive users—it’s not all bad news, however. For example,over 3 billion visits have been made to the Store since the Windows 10 launch. (Caveats noted. That is some mix of Windows 8.x and 10 users. And visits are not downloads or purchases.) And Windows 10 users are the fastest growing download segment, growing both in volume and total percentage of downloads, Microsoft says.

Likewise, this this nugget is clear cut and clearly positive: Windows 10 customer generate 4.5x more revenue per device when compared to Windows 8. (Is that “Windows 8.0 or 8x? Not clear.) And over the past holiday season [Microsoft] saw double the number of paid transactions for PC and tablet customers over the previous holiday season. This is less assailable.

There’s other data—Games are the only major category of app downloads, as was the case with Windows 8.x—and of course this post is aimed at developers, so there is some guidance about which app categories they might focus on.

“Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps are growing in popularity,” Microsoft notes, which of course makes sense since Windows 10, too, which UWP requires, is also growing in popularity. It’s just not clear how well things are really going relative to Windows 8.x. Or, as important, relative to Android and iOS.


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