Today, Microsoft is announcing a new kind of store for the future of Windows. The new store is called Windows Store for Business. The new Windows Store for Business will offer consumers apps and private LOB apps as well as business method payment options. In addition to the Windows Store for Business, schools will also have the ability to customize the Windows Store with the added ability to highlight apps from the catalog.
Microsoft is continuing its mantra of one unified experience, and that now relates to business and purchase manageability. Enterprise and IT administrators can no manage app discoverability and purchases through the native apps store on Windows as well as a web-based Store portal. For security concerns, organizations can access the web-based Store portal by signing into the portal with an Azure Active Directory identity. The power of assignment is also given to IT, as they can now purchase apps in bulk and assign to different people within an organization. From there, employees only need to click a link to begin to install the assigned app(s).
The Windows team hasn’t forgotten about large-scale organizations. For large businesses who prefer to run their private company portal in order to present their specific catalog of apps, the Windows Store for Business has can still be applied. With Windows 10, Windows Store apps can be acquired through a new Store portal and thus displayed within private companies portals. Furthermore, the new Store portal maintains the same API-level integration of management tools while interacting with the Windows Store. This level of integration allows apps in the portal to surface full details and descriptions as well the proper icons and more.
For smaller businesses looking to maintain the same level of security through company portals, the new Business Store allows them the opportunity to create private sections within the Store for their apps. Smaller businesses can lock down users ability to wander the Store to only a section designed specifically for the company and nothing else.
The new Windows Store for Business extends beyond desktops and PCs. In Windows 10 organizations can also control their stores distribution by utilizing System Center Configuration Manager, Microsoft Intune or Mobile Device Management (MDM) services. These new services allow admins to control, install/uninstall, update and manage app licenses. For organizations that install apps on devices that do not have internet access, Windows 10 will be able to offer organizations the ability to download app installations files from the Store. Businesses can then later deploy to the non-internet tethered devices with the inclusion of custom Windows images and provisioned run-time packages using SCCM or MDM services.
The Windows team is taking their new unified store seriously, and it looks like the stores extensibility will be another great selling point for Windows 10.