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Microsoft to unify Windows Phone and Windows Stores

One of the major downsides within the Microsoft ecosystem is the inability to share applications between Windows Phone devices and Windows 8/RT tablets. Rumors had emerged in the past that the company might be looking for a way to merge the two stores and create a one-stop solution for users; today, those rumors have been confirmed.

According to The Verge, Microsoft is planning to combine its current Windows Phone Store and Windows 8 Store into one single entity. Sources have stated that head of Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group, Terry Myerson, confirmed the decision to merge the stores “in an internal company meeting today”, which was “attended by thousands of Microsoft employees”.

Myerson has been quoted as being committed to the “next releases” of both Microsoft’s Windows PC and Windows Phone Operating systems; an exact update roadmap has not been specified, we might see the special update for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone in the spring of 2014.

It has not yet been revealed how the application store will work or how Microsoft plans to pull off the merge. We may see a store similar to Apple, in which some applications will be restricted to tablets, while others can be scaled up. It would be even better to see Microsoft combine both distributions of a single purchase, so if multiple versions of the app are available for both tablets and phones – users will only have to worry about picking up the app once.

As of now, the Windows Store and Windows Phone Marketplace are the Achilles Heel of Microsoft’s entrance into the industry and combining the two marketplaces can only be helpful. In addition, if users find out that all of the Windows 8 applications they bought can easily be accessed from their phone – it might draw more appeal to Windows phone handsets.

As we obtain more details on the market unification, we will keep you updated here at Windows Phone Central.

Source: The Verge

 

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Comments

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About time! I hate repurchasing apps I bought on my phone on my tablet!

Yeah, I would think this should have been one if the, if not the highest priority to help win phones traction. MS has great resources, but damn they can be slow.

blackprince says:

At least this reorg is starting to bear some fruit. Early to mid 2014 would be a great rollout period.

kullkid92x says:

Microsoft needs to SHIT ON EVERYONE come CES 2014.

I mean HARD, like bullys lol. By then this Reorg and the Nokia integration should be on full movement. Microsoft likes to play the "slow n sneaky" bunch lol they've been doing so since the 80s but even I am sure that they must be fed up with the media and the windows 8 and windows phone 8 attacks.

dreonedon says:

ive been waiting for this for awhile now even thou i have the surface pro i would love to have my apps just the same
 

This is what's holding me back from purchasing Halo Assult. It doesnt make sense to buy it on the phone and on the surface. I want to play this on a bigger monitor but at times I'd rather play it on the go.

mehsdomi says:

^ ABOUT DAMN TIME

Daylife says:

This will be huge when it happens!

TechBizJP says:

We'll celebrate?

Zulfigar says:

Party over here. Woo woot!

BK-one says:

Hurry hurry hurry. Times are wasting away.

Times a wasting? How about my "money is a wasting" MS get on this with a quickness.

luiislp says:

i hope we dont have to wait long :P

I also hope it's totally unrelated to the Nokia Devices finalization.
The Windows Phone 8.1 is due to Feb/Mar 2014
Then the WP8.1 & RT 8.1 & W8.1 % Xbox will have unified API
The Store might have to wait for this.
Developers accessing Beta OS might be able to program (and transfer will minimal fuss) the new API soon.
For consumers the GDR3/Bittersweet shimmer is more huge because of 180p display support.
You can code for that already.
BUT
think about it from a Developers Point Of View:
code once deploy quad! 
Naturally you need still take care of different display sizes and other things like input, etc
but still...the amount of potential Customers is HUGE

The new Windows 9 will most likely totally unite the RT & WPhone in 2015/2016
 

b23h says:

Yes, if MS makes it so that developers can with a fair amount of "ease" code for the combined markets of Windows 8/Windows Phone 8 and the Xbox One, that will represent a very large market and will be an inducement for developers to write for that market.     That's a huge win for customers as we should see more apps for our Windows Phones.

StevePT says:

About time... Should have been this way from the beginning with the shared core.

Kellzea says:

And mobile phones should have started out with 2000 core processors and a tb of ram. But sometimes it takes knowing what you did wrong before you can get it right.

woodsielord says:

Yeah. Only if you are 6 years late into the game with competitors offering similar solutions, and if you effing advertised it as a feature of the W8/WP8 environment, it should take you this long.

WinFan1 says:

This will be a good thing when it happens.

sunnybyday says:

That is a great move .. long overdue. I have brought Angry birds, Cut the Rope and many other apps twice - for my Lumia and then for Surface :(

immyperez says:

See, that's one of the things that stopped me from purchasing a surface. Some the windows 8 equivalents are also double the price!!!

danielgray says:

Yes me too. If you have to buy again, why not just buy an IPad where you can get all the apps you want. Either way a surface 2 is mine on 22Oct.

Jaskys says:

Reliable notifications and notification center would be better.

Nik Rolls says:

You just can't please some people.

Kellzea says:

Yep "hey good news everyone, we are doing x". Reply "you should have done this from the start, why are you wasting time with this? We wanted y. Still sucks, never gonna buy that crap, give me free stuff, you suck" etc etc etc

NIST says:

Where's instagram?

6tag or instance your choice!

SoloXCRacer says:

Haven't you heard?  Kevin Systrom hates Microsoft.

Nik Rolls says:

If the best notification centre on all platforms was announced, they'd be complaining that we don't have a unified marketplace.

backlashsid says:

And french fries with that...

Jaskys says:

French fries? That's low.

juanitoriv says:

More like some cheese with that whine. This setup will be awesome!!

Kellzea says:

I hope they make the windows 8 store like the wp store, and not the other way round

blackprince says:

Have you seen the 8.1 store. So much win there.

R0bR says:

Not really, the same stagnant apps are advertised for days and often weeks, just like before 8.1. On WP it changes daily or even more than once a day.

kullkid92x says:

While I agree with you that the stagnant apps should go away and be timely changed like in wp8 store, I still agree with the guy above.

The windows 8.1 store is MUCH more appealing than the wp8 store. So we can have that UI appeal and just have timely apps refreshed on the feature slide.

interopbyt says:

It probably is just opinion, but for me, I'm the other way around. Why does W8 look so rushed and messy and glitchy while WP8 looks like the concept of "perfection" to me? :P

neo158 says:

Windows 8, glitchy? What hardware are you running it on, an IBM PC AT?

interopbyt says:

Oops, meant to clarify that the Windows 8 apps were glitchy... As in, they were slow, most of them weren't fluid experiences, and sometimes annoying errors plagued my experience... I went back to just using regular desktop programs...

What really is annoying is when the Mail app on my Surface loads up, and when I tap the "Delete" button, it doesn't get highlighted, leaving me to wonder if I tapped it or not... Lol :/

woodsielord says:

I agree with interopbyt here. W8 core apps still, after many updates speeding them up, take their sweet sweet time loading and man, they really lack the functionality to make up for the sluggishness.

E Lizzle says:

The Win 8 mail app is horrible compared to the WP8 one. Hopefully 8.1 fixes this via Outlook.

E Lizzle says:

I agree!  I can browse the store, from work,  using the browser and install apps on my phone without even having to pick it up.  I can do the same with Google Play and my Nexus 7.  However, to install on my Surface, I have to be sitting in front of it.  Super lame.

deansmilk says:

Nice! The sooner the better.

Nik Rolls says:

Single purchase between stores would be great. I would even go for a discounted purchase; as a developer myself I know the extra work that goes into supporting both, but you can still share a lot of code between the platforms if you do it right. So as a user I'd be happy to pay half the price on one OS if I've already paid for it on the other.

cesar ruiz1 says:

I really wouldn't mind paying 5 bucks for an app/game if I can use or play on wp8/pc/tablet/xbox.

Nik Rolls says:

Same here, though I'd prefer the choice for apps I only wanted on one platform.

juanitoriv says:

That even sounds good, as long as there's the ability to "cloud" save game states so that you can play on your WP, then pick it right back up when you get home on your PC/tablet and vice versa

Nik Rolls says:

The Azure service has that functionality, and prebuilt SDKs for both platforms.

juanitoriv says:

Nick, I know Six Guns does cloud save states, but not too many other games do.

Nik Rolls says:

Sorry, I wasn't implying that all apps do it, just that the functionality is there now so the potential for this is high.

juanitoriv says:

Spread the word. No more restarts after a reset or new device!! Yeah!!!;;;

Dean McCrae says:

If they just delete the Windows 8 store, the merge will be easy ;-)

Finally! All this "Shared experience" and "identical code base" talk should have seen a unified store from day 1...

woodsielord says:

It was promised from day 1. Took them two effing years.

AccentAE86 says:

It's about time.

DKD116 says:

Very cool, this is their chance to get ahead of the game.  If they really take advantage of the Xbox One compatabilities as well, they'll have the missing link Apple and Android don't have, a sweet entertainment system that combines your phone/tablet/PC/console.

HELL YA!  I wish it happened yesterday.

mr toes says:

I'm honestly not that excited, the only advantage of this could be unified purchases, which I fully support. But they wouldn't need to combine the stores to achieve that. I hope they are sensible about it and they dont let blown up phone apps work on tablets and vice versa. That right there is android grade fragmentation.

enzom09 says:

but many of the apps work on high end devices with screen resolutions of 720P, meaning that if you use those on cheaper laptops/tablets you'll still be getting the same resolution of that image (just less PPI). Apps written to work on 720P will almost certainly still look good on those screens. Once gdr3 comes out and apps start being also written to support 1080p, you can bet they'll still look great on higher end laptops too. I don't think this will necessarily be an issue.

mr toes says:

But you are still looking at a blown up phone app, a la android. Regardless of ppi, the ui elements will be inconsistent as WP uses more swipes than w8.

djgreedo says:

That isn't really the case with Windows Phone and Windows RT though. Windows Phone/RT UI is generally auto-scaling, and as long as screens have the same aspect ratio the scaling will be unnoticeable. For example you can run a phone app on a 480x800 WP7 device and run the same app on a WP8 device with a HD screen and get perfect scaling. A typical tablet has the same resolution (or near enough) to a HD phone (e.g. Surface RT and Lumia 920 have similar resolution).
 
Tablet apps will also generally automatically scale to a phone screen - Microsoft designed their new platforms with this in mind.
 
We wouldn't get the kinds of problems that exist on Android - apps squashed in the screen corner, blocky graphics, etc.
 
I would expect that by default an app would be restricted to its original platform anyway, and there will be ways for a developer to choose whether their app can run on RT/phone based on what is suitable for their particular app. Future apps (made after this change) should be automatically compatible with either platform (much like a Windows RT app is automatically compatible with ARM and x86).
 
I really hope there is a mechanism for easily sharing roaming settings between platforms and that you can *link* two apps together to allow for buy once, play anywhere functionality.

Tyradius says:

Now just merge these with the Xbox marketplace. I'm sure they can sparse the information so those on the Xbox one can only see programs, games, and movies available for it, while WP users can only see those designed for it. While windows 8 / RT users only see ones for them. The programs that are cross platform would show up on all platforms it's designed for etc.

chezm says:

good news, this is a must if MS wants to compete with Apple

kaynachtsman says:

Awesome Picture Michael

Thanks! Domo guards my Windows gear. :P

freshfelicio says:

I think when Surface Mini comes out in early 2014, it will run Windows Phone apps in portrait mode. I think that's the reason why they hold it back and the reason why they make this update - because a mini tablet has to be in portrait, but all the win8 are in landscape mode, while Windows Phone apps would fit perfectly.

trickym81 says:

The more they merge Windows RT, Windows Phone and the "Metro" part of Windows 8, the better.

Jandieg says:

Big questions is: Would an existing WP8 app run on W8? (just like iPhone apps run emulated on iPads)

juanitoriv says:

Don't see why that wouldn't work.. WP & RT use the same basic architecture. Should be simple to make happen. I may be wrong though. I am not a DEV

jamsjordn says:

I'm sure it is possible but it wouldn't look very good as WP is more text based and would just look bland on your wide screen laptop/tablet/desktop

Jandieg says:

Not necessarily, Panorama and Pivots could be displayed in wide. For the rest yes, dark background to fill the space. But at least you can run the app even when not “built for“ W8.

DreadVenom says:

+1 Life Up for u MS. Keep up the recent good work.

DJCBS says:

I see this as both good and bad news.
The good news was written in the article: indeed, it would be good to have an Apple-like scheme where Apps would work on both phones and tablets.
But here's the thing: 1st Microsoft has 3 Operating systems instead of 2, like Apple. They have Windows, Windows RT and Windows Phone. While it would make sense to unify the Windows Phone and Windows RT markets, throwing in the Windows 8 presents a nightmare-ish task.

So, when it comes to unification of markets, I'd rather see them unifying Windows Phone and RT marketplaces but leave Windows 8 outside. Unless they intend to heavily update the Windows Phone OS to bring it closer to Windows RT. And honestly, only really naïve people can believe that in the near future given the abysmally slow pace WP develops.

Now lets think of a scenario post-unification.
Everything went well and we have an unified market between Windows Phone and Windows.

Lets think App costs. Lets think, for example, Angry Birds. On Windows Phone it costs 0.99€. On Windows RT it costs 3,99€.
If you introduce a policy of once purchase, you'll necessarily have to introduce a wider price range within the same App. Otherwise developers will obviously tag the App at the higher price due to production costs. And that presents a problem for everyone.
Think about these scenarios:
1 - You own a Windows Phone and you own a Windows tablet.
2 - You own a Windows Phone but you own and Android/iOS tablet.
3 - You own an Android/iOS phone but your tablet is a Windows tablet.

Now lets think about this:
1 - You have a phone/tablet Windows combo. You buy Angry Birds for 2.99€/3.99€. You get the game on the tablet and on the phone. Excellent.
2 - You only own a Windows Phone. Why would you pay now more for a game that only runs on your phone if you won't enjoy it on the tablet? The increasing of the price will very likely lead you to not buy the game. The developer lost two sales. He lost the sale of the tablet version, which you would not by from the start. But he also lost the phone purchase that he would more likely get from you if he hadn't risen the price.

3 - You only have a Windows tablet. Why would you pay more for an App than you could, just because you can also get it on a phone you don't own? Same as number 2 applies.

Let us not forget Microsoft isn't Apple. The idea here is to bring more people to the platforms, both RT and WP mainly.

So, I think the best way to go about this unification is to create the CHOICE of price. Have a 3 prices policy. That way you can chose if you want to buy the game only for your phone at one price, only for your tablet at another price, or for both devices at a third price (which must be lower than the combination of the other two prices). This way you don't overcharge those who want just the app on their phones, you don't undercharge those who want it only on their tablets and you even recompense those who have the ecosystem (and don't forget your windows devices are registered with Microsoft, so they know what you have or don't have. So there's little trouble with smartarses trying to go around this.)

mondokjm says:

You're thinking about it in a very difficult way. Think of it like the WP store is now. You have some apps for WP7 devices, some for WP8, and some that work for both. The only difference with this transition is that there are already WP and W8/RT apps that are, in one way or another, functionally the same. The decision then needs to be made as to which version becomes the combined app and which version gets scrapped. The idea is unified purchases and that can't be achieved by the model you explain.

DJCBS says:

Except the Apps build for WP don't work on Windows. You need to build two Apps either way. Unless you replace WP with Windows RT. Again, not happening in the near future. It's not really the same as WP7 and WP8.
And also, that unified purchase you mean would still bring forth the problems I exposed. That wouldn't help neither the tablets business nor the WP business.

juanitoriv says:

I might just like this model you put forth. But then, I'd just play Angry Birds on my phone for $0.99. There is a pricing model above on this thread that I like as well.. Hmmmmm

Eric Hon says:

I could agree to a 3-tier pricing policy with the best bargain being if you're all in with the MSFT ecosystem.  How about when Xbox is integrated?  Would that require another tier you think?

Manny C says:

Oh man this is great! I am now terribly excited.

Mr. Brown says:

I would love to install the WPCentral app on my tablets. Its much faster than the browser that is loaded with pictures and ads.

DJCBS says:

Jay is working on the Windows version of the App. I think it was purposely delayed so it can come already optimized for 8.1 ;)

Mr. Brown says:

I hope so, that would be awesome!

I hope there is a free version :/

Just chiming in to saw how awesome the title image to this article is.
 
It really shows off how great the new sync features of Wndows 8.1 are, and how versatiile and cool the Start screen can be across multiple device types and sizes (would have loved to see an Acer W3 in there too for more comparison), nicely done!
 
I only have 8.1 preview on my tablet so far, looking forward to the finl version so I can get it going on m desktop and get everything syncing so they're no so independantly set up.
 
As for the article itself, I think we all knew this was happening anyway so not exactly surprising but nice to know it's still coming. And also to have an answer to the main question I had, which was: "Won't Windows 8.1 need an update if WP8.1 isn't coming till months after?". Now we know, yes it does and yes it will get an update. Lovely! :)
 
I'm hopeful we'lll see a lot morre syncronisation and commmunication/compatibility between the two with WP 8.1 along the lines of the type of sync we see in that opening photo.

mango.lover says:

Welcome to the biggest feature of Windows Phone Blue.

GunplaGamer says:

So this means I can use Windows 8 Comixology on my windows phone?? Please say it is so!

Ushae says:

God MS why are you so slow. Apple is always 3 steps ahead :(

UI needs an overhaul for both phone and tablet. Stores need merging. There is no notification centre. No innovative design for the phone interface.

Come on Redmond don't let us down..

So they are moving ahead but not on your time frame? This is a huge organizational shift, stuff takes time, once they are together things should gel a lot quicker.

woodsielord says:

They promised this shift as a part of W8/WP8 transition from W7/WP7.8. Hell it's why I switched from Apple. Feels great to be sold the same shit twice, after being duped close to 2 years.

sip1995 says:

Maybe the people with RT will take some Nokia exclusive apps.

rockstarzzz says:

"Rumour is confirmed as The Verge reported...." since when is Verge the official Microsoft channel and WPCentral approves that?!

Unify with Xbox and do it right and that is huge! Glad to see Microsoft becoming more customer and developer friendly again.

JoRdaNeK says:

I think this is good news and happiness is inside of me :)

Neo Nuke says:

This is too slow in my opinion. I think it moves windows and WP "blue" from early to mid 2014. Too far behind. Someone help me because I'm really losing hope

stephen_az says:

How exactly is an unnamed source supposedly quoting something said by an executive in a closed, internal meeting, confirmed? By that standard, there are aliens hanging out at Area 51 and the Da Vinci Code is a history book.

woodsielord says:

Did you even graduate high school or read any, just any, piece of investigative journalism?

welsbloke says:

About bloody time is all I can say... Like I am sure others have said I hate buying apps twice. In fact I often do not buy and App if it is available for both purely because I fell like I am being ripped off!

tcadbury says:

Thank goodness. Insane paying for the same app in two places. Why couldn't MSFT have taken AAPL's route, would've been less painful for them.

Hoekie says:

Well, MSFT has PC/Laptop/Tablet allready covered in one App Store. Adding Windows Phone (and Xbox One) is an even better route.

Ordeith says:

I wasn't aware you could run ipad apps on a macbook without a repurchase if they are available.
Looks like Apple isn't either

millercrew5 says:

So this means I will in the future port my existing apps from phone to tablet?

crazygonzo says:

Sweeet, that's just great. Now the developers will have a larger user base so creating a new app will be more profitable.

WPKiva says:

They better get this done quick.  Developers might wait to see where the future lies before they begin new projects.  Should they use the phone model or the metro model?  Or is there a new model for both?

Steven Curl says:

Its really the same model. If developers use the recommended practices their actual code should be quite portable, and I feel an effort from Microsoft could push that to basically 100% compatibility. Then its just up to the dev to make different interfaces for the two versions, which XAML makes easy.

Soon, maybe, side-loading from IOS app? That would be great for WP, even if the app isn't metro. Some apps don't need metro, like some games.

Blkacesvf41 says:

Not only this but I'd love to be able to have the same start screen across all my devices.

Will there be a unified Microsoft Wallet for all Windows devices once this happens??? Sure hope so!!!

Jamdot says:

There already is since Microsoft Points died. Any credit in your Microsoft Account can be used on Xbox, W8 & WP8.

AskaLangly says:

Sometimes I'd rather support developers double-time, purchasing both. But this I've also been waiting for.

Go Chris Holland!

david90531 says:

This should've been done already, but good on yea MS!

piaqt says:

Not only can MS be slow, they can often be (and frequently are) consumer-stupid. (No copy/paste in WP7, etc.) Nice to see they've smelt the coffee.

Thank Fucking GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

btgusto says:

MicrosoftONE-love

drittsek says:

So they are just figuring this out now?   Something that IOS and Android have been doing for years.  And being so late to the mobile and tablet arena, I don't understand how microsoft didn't think about having a unified store right away when they were creating wp8 and w8.   And not to sound more cynical, it wouldn't surprise me if the unified store will only be allowed in wp9 and wp8 devices are SOL.   
It's getting harder and harder to be a fan of this company.  Their decision making, various delays and strategies are really baffling to me-the recent xbone release fiasco, exuberant surface rt orders and the delay of wp8.1 come to mind.  I understand they are going through a major regor, but how many times can a company tell us to wait next year, it will get better? 
Personally, I think the root of their problems lies with their core compentency and cash cow, windows.  Many of their  strategic descisons have been made to protect windows.  Windows is ubiquitous to pc's and microsoft is trying to replicate that in mobile.  This might have worked if Apple never made the ipod many years ago but their problems are perception (of windows) and consumers have alternatives that are better.  When they finally tossed out windows mobile 6xx (2 years too late) and decided to start fresh, I think they should have distanced it from windows as much as possible-start fresh and have nothing to do with windows. 
Just my two cents

Ordeith says:

I want them to merge the Xbox store while they are at it. Let me buy an app once and run it on any ms device it is available for.

ejlee072006 says:

I thought that was the plan from the beginning when they abandoned ie7 and wp7?

Lenn Liggins says:

Now you're using your head.   This is something that should be pushed and accearated.

eugie says:

I like these any more then i love windows . Hope its true recommende to all

DaveGx says:

Lol. I'll believe it when I see it. Spring 2014 will turn into Fall, then 2015...... Enough talk

woodsielord says:

This was actually promised as a Windows 8 feature: Unified ecosystem across all devices. Imagine my disappointment when I found out that it was more fragmented even worse than Apple's stores. I still feel cheated, this was mainly why I jumped on board with W8/WP8 as freely as I did.

S Vaibhav says:

What about the wp7 app store?Will it still be there?

jasqid says:

Ok... So I like paid 5 bucks for plants vs zombies 2 years ago. Does this mean I will be able to play it on my surface?

Kadcidxa says:

That would be kool!

david90531 says:

I really hope that this will happen as soon as possible!