Microsoft Giveth, and Microsoft Taketh Away: Changes to Windows Store for Business Impacts Channel
Microsoft claims that there are 300 million devices running Windows 10. Which is all well and good, but the channel needs more than an operating system. It needs business apps, and most developers are content churning out products for Apple and Alphabet.
Microsoft (MSFT) claims that there are 300 million devices running Windows 10. Which is all well and good, but the channel needs more than an operating system. It needs business apps, and most developers are content churning out products for Apple (APPL) and Alphabet (GOOG).
Last week, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) announced that it’s making it easier for developers to sell to small and medium-sized businesses. Now, IT administrators can buy third-party apps in bulk through Windows Store for Business (WSB), the web-based portal that helps admins buy, manage and distribute Windows Store apps to employees.
As anyone in the channel can attest, SMB IT is big business. Microsoft estimates that SMBs spend $70 billion per year on desktop software, applications and utilities. Developers can now deepen their reach into that market if they’re in one of the 35 supported countries.
Microsoft needs developers to write applications for its Windows 10 operating system, which offers a portal to WSB on its desktop. The company is essentially using the marketplace to incentivize the creation of the needed business apps, going so far as to eliminate the group policy settings that let IT administrators block access to the store Windows 10 Pro. Now developers have more direct access to customers through WSB and can sell their software in bulk.
WSB sells not only business apps, but games, music and movies. Some admins worry that allowing employees access to the Store will lead to a rise in the download of unauthorized applications. This could open the door for security concerns as well as reduced bandwidth. Admins who want to turn off the Store must upgrade to the pricier Windows Enterprise.
“Windows 10 Enterprise is our offering that provides IT pros with the most granular control over company devices. Windows 10 Pro offers a subset of those capabilities and is recommended for small and mid-size businesses looking for some management controls, but not the full suite necessary for IT pros at larger enterprises,” a company spokesman said in a statement.”The ability to block access to the Windows Store is typically for organizations who want more control over corporate-owned devices. This fits into the value of Windows 10 Enterprise.”
This is just the beginning for the fledgling Windows Store for Business. Microsoft says a host of new features are in the works, including invoicing, volume discounts and organizational in-app purchases.