App developers now have an easier way to sell their wares to businesses running Windows 10.
On Thursday, Microsoft said developers can submit paid apps for inclusion in the Windows Store for Business, a version of the online store for Windows 10 that companies can use to distribute software to their employees over the web. (The store previously offered only free applications.)
The move means independent app developers have an easier way to get their wares in front of large enterprise customers, and businesses have an easier way to purchase apps for their users and distribute them across a large population of Windows 10 PCs and tablets.
The store lets business get volume discounts on apps they purchase. It's available to companies that have installed Windows 10 Enterprise, which includes business-focused features not present in consumer versions of Windows 10.
Right now, the ability to purchase apps through the Windows Store for Business is only available in 35 countries, and it's unclear what Microsoft's plans for expanding that number are in the future.
The success of the Windows Store is key to Microsoft's strategy around the Universal Windows Platform, a new development model for Windows 10 that makes it easier to write apps that can run across a wide variety of devices.
If developers can't make money putting apps in the store, they'll be less likely to climb on board with UWP, which reaches not only Windows 10 PCs, but also tablets, phones, the Xbox One and the Microsoft HoloLens.
Offering an easy way for developers and businesses to connect and do volume pricing could be a win-win for both. Businesses get discounts on software, and developers get access to potentially large orders.
Right now, developers have been slow to adopt the Windows Store. It's gaining applications from key players like Facebook, but still pales in comparison to mobile app stores like the iOS App Store and Google Play Store. Microsoft contends that it's still early days for both Windows 10 and the Windows Store, but the picture isn't that pretty right now.