Rumor roundup: Everything we expect from the new Microsoft Store in Windows 11

Arif Bacchus

Image of the Microsoft Store running on Windows 11

For all that we know about Windows 11 thanks to the recently leaked build, there’s also a lot that we don’t know. At the top of the list is what will happen with the Microsoft Store.

Since the leaked Windows 11 build isn’t yet final, it’s believed that the Microsoft Store and other areas of Windows 11 might change before Microsoft officially talks about the OS during its June 24 event. Here’s a look at everything we expect on that front.

An explainer

Redesigned Microsoft Store on Xbox for Xbox insiders

Before we begin, we have a note for you. A lot of the rumors we discuss in this post are centered on Windows 10 when “Sun Valley” rumors were first surfacing. Since then, things have evolved a bit. It now looks as though Sun Valley will end up being an entirely new operating system known as Windows 11 (rather than just a routine yearly Windows 10 update).

But we’re not certain what will happen to Windows 10 when Windows 11 is released. Since the Microsoft Store is just a Windows app, the features we talk about here could well come to both versions of Windows. While there’s a chance the new Microsoft Store could remain exclusive to Windows 11, it’s doubtful. For one thing, having it only on 11 would cut devs out of a lot of revenue opportunity. Anyway, let’s proceed with our recap.

Win32 apps in the Microsoft Store

Microsoft Store Windows 10

As we had reported back in April, one of the leading rumors is that Microsoft could bring support for Win32 apps in the Microsoft Store. This was mainly fueled by a report from Windows Central’s Zac Bowden, who noted that Microsoft will allow developers to submit raw .exe or .msi packages to the store. He believes Microsoft will even allow developers to push out updates via their own content delivery system, which benefits apps like Firefox, and Chrome.

In more recent times, there’s an extra reason why this could be true. Satya Nadella had an interesting monologue about “next-generation Windows” and the opportunities it will offer for developers. The CEO noted, “we will create more opportunity for every Windows developer today and welcome every creator who is looking for the most innovative, new, open platform to build and distribute and monetize applications.” There you go, that’s the big tease!

More Microsoft apps in the Microsoft Store

The Microsoft Store running on Windows 11 with Microsoft apps

One of the problems with the current version of the Microsoft Store is the lack of Microsoft’s own first-party apps. We expect and hope for that to change with the new Microsoft Store.

The reason why? Many apps like Visual Studio, Microsoft Teams are missing in the store, and you need to download Win32 versions instead. This is problematic on devices with ARM-based chips (compatibility issues), or locked-down Windows 10 in S-mode devices, where Win32 apps don’t run.

Basically, if Microsoft wants developers to take the new Microsoft Store seriously and have them upload their own apps to the store, then they’d need to set the example first. This also might end up benefiting the rumored locked-down version of Windows 11, too, rumored to be known as Windows 11SE.

Android apps in the Microsoft Store?

Remember Project Latte? This is Microsoft’s rumored project to bring Android apps to Windows. Microsoft went here previously before with Project Astoria for Windows 10 Mobile, but Project Latte is an entirely new thing. Rumors had indicated that this is Microsoft’s plan to allow app developers to package Android apps as MSIX and bring it to the Windows Store with no code changes. Windows 11 would be a great way to showcase this.

And there’s a reason why. Microsoft already has the Windows Subsystem for Linux. Android is a Linux-based operating system, and it can’t possibly be too hard for Microsoft to bring Android apps to Windows. Of course, there is the roadblock of many apps requiring Google Play services, but that’s just one small problem, which Microsoft might be able to find a way around if they work with developers.

Other changes

Those are the highlights so far of all the rumors surrounding the Microsoft Store so far, but there’s still a bit we didn’t cover. Also in the works are changes so developers can pocket more money from their apps, not to mention the ongoing work with Project Reunion, too. We expect to hear more about all of this during Microsoft’s June 24 event, but for now, expectations do seem to be high.