Microsoft’s Windows Store opened its virtual doors today, and “developers are working fast and furiously to stock the shelves” with cloud-based apps for it new Windows 8 operating system, according to CEO Steve Ballmer.
For publishers, the download center represents a new frontier with two major benefits: the potential to tap into a large global audience, and a more favourable division of revenue from digital subscriptions.
The Windows operating system is currently used by most of the world’s PCs, but PC sales have been stagnant for the past two years. With the new software, Microsoft appears to be betting on tablets and smartphones (Windows 8 features an interface optimized for touchscreens), sales of which are rising around the world. It has opened its Windows Store in 231 countries as of today, and is allowing developers to write apps in 109 languages thus far. Ballmer has said that he expects nearly 400 million computers, tablets and phones to run Windows 8 software within the year.