Microsoft extends Windows Store to include some desktop apps

Windows Store embraces universal app-converted desktop software

Microsoft is pushing its Windows Store to its full potential, and it now lists desktop software - but only if it's been converted to the "universal app" style.

The Windows Store was created for Microsoft's universal apps, the mobile-style software that the company started with the launch of Windows 8. Apps built on that Universal Windows Platform (UWP) can be used across any Windows 10 device, while standard Win32 apps are left to languish on laptops and desktops.

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Now, for the first time, standard desktop software will also be listed in the Windows Store, if developers make use of Microsoft's "Desktop Bridge" tool, which converts standard software into universal-style apps. Plus, the tool allows developers to make use of Windows Live Tiles and notifications, Microsoft said in a blog post.

"The Desktop Bridge vastly simplifies our installer and uninstaller," said Seth Hitchings, VP of engineering of Evernote, in a statement. "It also opens up UWP APIs that we've taken advantage of, including the live tiles and notifications. And having the full-featured Evernote app in the Windows Store means future improvements will reach users faster." 

Confusingly, such apps aren't universal across Windows 10 - developers will have to do more work to make that happen. Or, as Microsoft puts it, the converter "enables the path to gradually migrate the app or game to reach all Windows 10 devices over time, including phones, XBox One and HoloLens". 

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The first apps will be available to anyone running the Anniversary Update. Those include Evernote, Arduino IDE, doubleTwist, PhotoScape, MAGIX Movie Edit Pro, Virtual Robotics Kit, Relab, SQL Pro, Voya Media, Predicted Desire and korAccount.



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