Third-party web browsers and app stores are coming to the Microsoft Store
Microsoft is announcing some changes to its Microsoft Store policies today. While they’re significant, they’re not unexpected or surprising. The two big changes that the firm is announcing is that it’s opening up the Microsoft Store to third-party storefronts, and it’s going to start allowing third-party browser engines in the Store.
First up is the idea of third-party storefronts coming to the Microsoft Store. This isn’t exclusive to Windows 11, as the new Microsoft Store is coming to Windows 10 as well, but some stores will be exclusive to the new OS. The obvious example of this is the first one that will showcase this new policy, the Amazon Appstore.
Microsoft announced that the Amazon Appstore is going to be included in its own store back when it announced Windows 11 in June. It hasn’t arrived yet, and won’t ahead of the Windows 11 launch. But the thing that makes it special is that it’s bringing Android apps to the OS, so that’s still a Windows 11 feature. Something like the Epic Games Store, which is the other storefront that Microsoft has announced, is more likely to also come to Windows 10, given that it doesn’t require special services.
And then there’s the idea of third-party browser engines coming to the Microsoft Store, and this is more of a surprising change. When Windows 10 first launched, the rule was similar to the rule Apple uses on its App Store. If you want to put something with any kind of browser window in the Store, it has to use the platform engine. At the time, that was EdgeHTML. No one wanted to make a browser based on Microsoft Edge, so no browsers showed up in the Microsoft Store.
When Microsoft decided to rebuild its Edge browser from Chromium, the open-source browser that Google Chrome uses, the original plan was to lift the requirement for EdgeHTML and give developers the option between EdgeHTML and Chromium. However, that’s shifted to allow any browser in the Microsoft Store, and that’s going to be starting with Opera and Yandex.
The whole idea is that Microsoft will take any app in the Microsoft Store. It doesn’t matter if you’re a competing app store, a competing browser, an app made for Android, or whatever. The firm wants that to be the place that you get your apps on Windows.
As for when these changes will come into effect, it should be immediate. It’s a policy change, so it’s not like it’s a new Microsoft Store app that has to be tested by Insiders first. You can expect services like the Amazon Appstore, Epic Games Store, Opera, and Yandex Browser to show up in the Store whenever they’re ready.
As for the Amazon Appstore, Microsoft is still only saying that Android app support is coming soon to Windows 11.