Microsoft previews the Windows app store

We've heard rumblings about Microsoft introducing a Windows 8 apps store since April. Redmond confirmed its new distribution platform for Metro-style apps a few months ago, and it's now started a blog to pimp the appropriately named Windows Store to developers. At this early stage, the focus seems to be more on developers than on users. A rich selection of Metro apps will likely be key to Windows 8's success in tablets and other non-traditional PCs.

Obviously, the sheer number of systems expected to be running Windows 8 creates a massive market for applications. Microsoft is also looking to make that market more profitable for developers by offering them up to 80% of the revenue generated by sales of their software. Developers will start with a 70% cut, just like with Apple's App Store. However, after an app generates $25,000 in revenue, the developers will be rewarded with an 80% share of future sales.

Microsoft also seems eager to emphasize flexibility with the Win8 app store, especially when it comes to compensation. Developers will be able to offer free, trial, ad-supported, and paid apps. In-app purchases will be supported, and developers will be free to use their own transaction systems to process payments. A certification process will still be involved, of course, but Microsoft has published its requirements to give folks a sense of what to expect.

Aspiring Win8 developers won't be able to start cashing in on the operating system until it makes its official debut next year. However, the Windows 8 beta due in February will support free apps distributed through the Windows Store.

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