Microsoft is to offer the first looks at the app store integrated into Windows 8, the next iteration of the operating system, early next year.
Windows Store will appear in Windows 8 beta expected in February
The Windows Store, which will appear for the first-time in the Windows operating system, will offer PC users the chance to purchase apps for the Metro interface and the traditional desktop.
"We've just passed the 500 million licenses sold mark for Windows 7, which represents half a billion PCs that could be upgraded to Windows 8 on the day it ships. That represents the single biggest platform opportunity available to developers," Antoine Leblond, vice president of Windows Web Services, in a blog announcing the store.
"When we set out to build the Windows Store, we wanted to do the best job of connecting people to as many great apps as possible."
Microsoft said will initially cost $49 (£31) to register an app for sale in the store, which is available in every language Windows supports, so far that's more than 100. The tech giant will take 30 percent of all sales, leaving the developer with the remaining 70 percent. However, Microsoft said when an app achieves $25,000 (£16,000) revenue from the Windows Store, Microsoft will reduce its cut to 20 percent. The store will also offer local currency payments.
Furthermore, as well as adding an 'available in the Windows Store' button to their website, they'll also be able to add a line of code that will ensure the software is promoted via the App button within Internet Explorer 10, the next version of Microsoft's web browser. This button will automatically navigate to the app's listing in the Windows Store on a PC running Windows 8, or directly to the app if its already been installed on the machine.
Microsoft also said users will be able to download software trials from the Windows Store, which can then be upgraded to the full version or added to with extra featuring via in-app purchasing.
Microsoft said the Windows Store will be available when Windows 8 Beta is released, and during Beta all apps will be free of charge. Microsoft has not yet said when the Beta version, or the final version of Windows 8, will be released. However, according to The Next Web, which cited anonymous sources "close to Microsoft," Windows 8 beta version will launch in February 2012.
Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer said earlier in the year Windows 8 will touch down sometime in 2012. Looking at the launch of the current OS, Windows 7, Microsoft publicly released the beta version in early January 2009, with the release candidate following four months later. Windows 7 officially launched in October, so February could be a realistic date for the beta to appear.
Windows 8 has been described by Microsoft as the "reimagining of Windows from the chipset to the experience" as for the first-time ever, it offers a dual interface aimed at both PC and tablet/touchscreen users
The traditional Windows desktop is joined by the new Metro interface, which borrows heavily from the interface Microsoft created for Windows Phone 7, features a series of tiles that offer access to applications and can also contain live data that can be updated. Pressing the Start menu allows users to switch between the two different interfaces.