Acquire new customers for your traditional desktop apps through the Microsoft Store on Windows

Pete Brown, Rohith Gowda

Developers have invested in the creation of apps for Windows, building businesses around them, both large and small. Many of these apps have been traditional desktop apps, using the Win32 API, and frameworks like .NET, MFC, Qt, Windows Forms, WPF/XAML, OpenGL, Java, and more. The most common way to distribute these apps today is through the web, typically, through the company’s website.

But the openness of the ecosystem, especially the many different locations and methods for acquiring and installing apps, has made it a challenge for customers to find the right apps, and know they can trust both the app and the location they are installing from. It’s also a real challenge for developers, especially new ones, to get their apps noticed.

Introducing the new Microsoft Store on Windows

We are extremely happy to share that your traditional desktop apps, packaged as MSI or Executable(.EXE) installers, can now be distributed through the new Microsoft Store on Windows!

Bringing your app to the Microsoft Store adds another distribution channel for your traditional desktop app by making it discoverable to Windows customers, all while keeping your existing build production workflows. The new Microsoft Store on Windows supports Windows 11 alongside Windows 10, reaching more Windows customers.

There are plenty of opportunities for your app to be noticed by Windows customers in more than 200 markets. Read this article to learn more about optimizing your app’s discoverability in the Microsoft Store on Windows.

Screen shot of Win32-based application
Working with your web site, not competing with it

We also know that many of you have invested in a workflow and install experience that keeps customers engaged on your websites, and you don’t want to lose that.

Later this year, we’ll roll out the new Popup Store capability. This enables you to keep the same familiar web-first experience for your customers, but still support installation through the Microsoft Store on Windows with a lightweight native install experience.

Screen shot of Spotify window
Gain more insight into your apps

Getting analytics such as installs, uninstalls and app funnel metrics for traditional desktop apps distributed through the web is challenging.

When you publish your traditional desktop apps in the store, at GA and beyond, you will receive Store app analytics, without requiring any additional instrumentation in the app itself.

Keep the revenue

Finally, to support your apps without changes, we’re enabling you to bring your own commerce system for in-app purchases, and also use your own CDN or website.

When you use your own commerce system for your non-gaming apps, you keep 100% of the revenue (subject to the terms of your own commerce system provider and payment processor), and do not pay Microsoft anything for publishing or selling your app. There is no platform fee.

What’s next

Microsoft will continue to innovate in this space to make the experience even better in the future.

We have made it super easy to publish your unmodified traditional desktop apps to the Microsoft Store. Watch this short video to learn more.

We’re looking forward to publishing your great apps in the store! To sign up for the traditional desktop app publishing program, or to learn more about the new Microsoft Store on Windows, please visit aka.ms/newstore.