When Microsoft launched Windows 8, the Windows Store was a big part of the changes to the operating system. The Store was an integrated place for people to safely acquire software for their computers, similar to the App Store, Google Play, and others that came before it. But Microsoft struggled, on and off, to get enough apps in the store to make a big play. But, the Microsoft Store (which is the renamed Windows Store) has a new plan - become the secure mall of apps instead of a single store.
With Windows 11, Microsoft announced a shift plans for app distribution. While the majority of the focus was on the fact that Android apps will run natively on the platform, the really interesting aspect was that the Amazon App Store would power app discovery and distribution from within the Microsoft Store. This means that Microsoft will rely on Amazon to ensure that apps are safe, but will allow those apps to run directly on Windows 11.
Obviously, this is a big change in concept and opens up a lot of questions about how Microsoft might treat the store going forward. Speaking to The Verge, Panos Panay said that they want other distribution systems to set up shop in their new digital shopping mall. In particular, he mentioned Steam - the top game store on PCs. By bringing Steam into the fold, the Microsoft Store would become the go-to place for software on Windows.
Combining this strategy of multiple stores in one with the new policy of allowing developers to use any payment system they want and not having a fee for external systems, Microsoft is positioning itself similarly to how Google TV or Apple TV is positioned for media - one place to search for content, whether applications, games, movies, TV shows, and more. It has worked for media, and it could just as easily work for software.