In a bid to streamline the way users discover and access apps for Windows, Microsoft has unveiled a brand-new web version of its app store. This move is set to replace the previous method of finding Windows apps on the web, which often involved navigating through various links to eventually open the Microsoft Store client on Windows 10 or Windows 11.
The most notable change in this updated version is Microsoft’s decision to part ways with its old React codebase from the previous web iteration of the Microsoft Store. Instead, they’ve embraced modern web technologies like Shoelace, Lit, Vite, and a C# ASP.NET backend.
Explaining this shift, Microsoft engineer Judah Gabriel mentioned, “The old site was a React codebase built on an obsoleted UI framework. We created a fresh user experience with a thoughtfully designed interface, easier ways to discover new apps, modern web tech stack. I hope folks will find it useful.”
This revamped web store offers a more user-friendly experience when searching for Windows apps or Xbox PC games, all of which can be downloaded through the primary Microsoft Store app on Windows. However, it’s important to note that the new web version will not replace the main Microsoft Store app but will serve as a complementary tool. As Gabriel puts it, “Think of this as the web front to the app store on Windows. They work together.”
The introduction of this web-based storefront could prove to be beneficial for Microsoft as it aims to broaden its reach beyond Windows. Earlier this year, Phil Spencer, Xbox chief at Microsoft, revealed plans to develop an Xbox mobile gaming store. This move is strategically timed, anticipating potential regulatory changes that may impact Apple and Google’s mobile app stores.
Thanks to the EU’s Digital Markets Act, which seeks to create a more level playing field in the tech industry, Microsoft’s Xbox mobile gaming store may launch as early as 2024. To ensure its discoverability in search results and links on social media networks, a web interface like the newly launched web app store for Windows will likely be essential. This innovation aligns with Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to adapt and evolve its services to meet the changing needs of its users and the evolving tech landscape.