Microsoft to Take on Mac App Store with Windows Store

Microsoft revealed its plans for the Windows Store on Wednesday, taking several design ideas from Apple’s own Mac App Store. The online app purchasing system is set to launch along with Windows 8 next year, and Microsoft is touting it as a better deal for developers.

The Windows maker says it will take only a 20 percent cut of in-store sales, compared to the 30 percent cut developers give Apple for App Store and Mac App Store sales. For apps sales below US$25,000, however, developers will still give up the same 30 percent fee they pay to Apple.

Microsoft's Windows StoreMicrosoft’s Windows Store

Unlike Apple’s App Store, Microsoft is setting the entry level price point for titles at $1.49 instead of $0.99. Apps can also be offered for free.

Microsoft says its app approval process will be easy to understand and far more transparent than Apple’s system. Apple is often criticized for what many developers see as a cumbersome approval process with inconsistent app guidelines.

The company is also hoping to draw in newspaper and magazine publishers by letting them handle in-app subscriptions without any restrictions. In contrast, Apple takes a 30 percent cut of in-app sales, and doesn’t share subscriber info with publishers without permission.

The Windows Store will support trial apps with in-app upgrade options — yet another feature Apple’s Mac App Store doesn’t support.

Microsoft’s Antoine Leblond said “Enterprises can choose to limit access to the Windows Store catalog by their employees, or allow access but restrict certain apps. In addition, enterprises can choose to deploy Metro style apps directly to PCs, without going through the Store infrastructure.”

The Windows Store will launch when the Windows 8 beta is released in early 2012.