Evolving Microsoft Store for Business and Education in Windows 10 and Windows 11

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Today, we are announcing exciting plans that bring together the management capabilities of Microsoft Endpoint Manager, the new Microsoft Store, and the flexibility of Windows Package Manager. These plans enhance the new Microsoft Store experience that is coming soon to both Windows 11 and Windows 10.

Your suggestions matter

You told us you wanted a way to control which apps and games were being downloaded by the users in your organization. We created the Microsoft Store for Business and Microsoft Store for Education, enabling you to make specific apps available in your own private store. We linked the Microsoft Store for Business and Microsoft Store for Education to their respective Intune and Intune for Education cloud services to make it easier for you to deliver Store apps to your endpoints using the same tools you were already using to manage devices.

And now we're addressing your feedback in other areas:

Starting in the first half of 2022 you will be able to find applications from the entire breadth of the Microsoft Store catalog and deploy to your managed devices all from within Microsoft Intune, or your unified endpoint management (UEM) solution. This will include support for all the new (and existing) app types coming to the new Microsoft Store including Win32, .NET, Universal Windows Platform (UWP), and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs).

For unmanaged devices, you can also use the new WinGet command-line tool within Windows Package Manager to find and install your apps.

Given the new experiences outlined in this post, we are also announcing that the Microsoft Store for Business and Microsoft Store for Education as you know them today will be retired in the first quarter of 2023. You may continue to use the current capabilities for free apps until that time. There will be no support for Microsoft Store for Business and Education on Windows 11. However, admins can still leverage the connection to Store for Business and Education, from their UEM solution to deploy apps to managed Windows 11 devices, until they are retired in 2023. Please stay tuned for more information once the preview mentioned above will be available for your evaluation.

The next evolution: Windows Package Manager, the new Microsoft Store, and Microsoft Intune

At Microsoft Build 2020, we announced Windows Package Manager, which enables developers to discover, install, upgrade, remove, and configure applications on Windows 10. We followed up in May of 2021 with the availability of Windows Package Manager v1.0 and support for Group Policy.

Windows Package Manager is an open set of APIs that can integrate with any unified endpoint management solution, including Intune. Organizations can also choose to integrate directly with these APIs to build their own solution to meet their needs and for unmanaged devices.

The WinGet command-line tool is the front end, or client interface, of the Windows Package Manager service, which itself is a comprehensive solution consisting of a command-line tool and a set of additional services for installing and managing apps on Windows 10.

Today, we are pleased to announce the next step of this evolution.

First, you can still centrally manage apps and deploy them to your Windows 10—and, later this year, Windows 11—endpoints. Windows Package Manager can simplify the process.
  • Public apps (apps publicly available from an independent software vendor): Use Windows Package Manager via the winget command-line tool to query the single catalog of public apps, through the new Microsoft Store, for apps built by third-party ISV developers regardless of app framework and packaging technology – including Win32, .NET, UWP, Xamarin, Electron, Reactive Native, Java, and PWAs.
  • Private apps (internal line-of-business apps): Use Windows Package Manager via the winget command-line tool to query your private app repository.
Then comes the best part. When ready, you can then use Intune or your UEM solution to easily manage both your public and private application catalogs.

We plan to release these capabilities for preview in the first half of the 2022 calendar year, and the general availability is targeted for second half of 2022. Subscribe to the Windows IT Pro Blog for future announcements.

How we’re getting there

As we build on Windows Package Manager, there are some key milestones that we are working toward to improve the overall commercial app management experience:
  • Windows Package Manager v1.0: generally available
  • Intune integration with Windows Package Manager service, your private app repository, and the new Microsoft Store: Public Preview (Expected H1 2022)
  • Intune integration with Windows Package Manager service, your private app repository, and the new Microsoft Store: General availability (Expected H2 2022)
  • Retirement of Microsoft Store for Business and Education for Windows 10: expected Q1 2023
How can I prepare for these new experiences?

If you work with independent software vendors, please remind them to submit their apps to the new Microsoft Store by visiting Publish apps and games to the Windows Store – Develop for Microsoft.

We'll have more information on how to create your local private app repository of internal business applications soon.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Will paid apps be supported by this new approach?
A: No. As we announced on April 14, 2021, only apps with a price of “free” are available for procurement. This will remain in effect with this new approach.

Q: Will existing Group Policy settings and CSP policies related to the Store continue to work on Windows 10?
A: Yes. You will still have the ability to turn off the Store app on Windows 10.

Q: Can my end users access my local private app repository from the Store?
A: You will be able to provide your end users access to your local private app repository via Company Portal on Microsoft Endpoint Manager or your UEM solution. The Store will no longer show private, organizationally curated applications.

Q: I am currently using the Store for private line-of-business apps built by a software vendor or in-house developer. Will those continue to work in the new solution?
A: Line-of-business apps will need to be migrated to your local private app repository before the retirement of the Microsoft Store for Business in Q1 2023. We will provide more details on how to do this migration for you and your ISV in the near future. Apps that have already been assigned and deployed to endpoints will continue to work after the retirement of the Store for Business as long as they are not removed from the device.

Q: How will app updates work in this new solution?
A: MSIX apps from the Microsoft Store will still be automatically updated. Other installer types or MSIX apps distributed directly from Microsoft Endpoint Manager can be updated by Microsoft Endpoint Manager.

Q: How will apps in this repository be signed? Do I need to manage code signing for my internal applications now?
A: Apps for your local private repository will be signed like any other code in your enterprise. You can leverage your own code signing certificate, a certificate from a trusted third-party partner, or Device Guard Signing Service v2.

Q: Will all of the apps in the Microsoft Store for Business today be supported with this new approach?
A: All free apps in the Microsoft Store for Business today will be supported with this new approach. Please check with your software vendor if you have any questions.

Q: Can I control what my end users see in my local private app repository?
A: Through Microsoft Endpoint Manager, or the APIs available to other UEM solutions, you can choose what apps are available or mandatory for your organization.

Q: What happens to the apps I already distributed to my organization after the Microsoft Store for Business is retired?
A: Applications that are already assigned and deployed to end user devices, including free and paid applications, will continue to work as long as the app is not removed from the device.

Q: Where can I learn more about these new APIs?
A: We will provide more information in our documentation as it becomes available. Please refer to the timeline in this blog.

Q: Where will I be able to manage my existing Minecraft subscriptions?
A: Minecraft: Education Edition subscriptions will be available in the Microsoft 365 admin center for management.

Q: How does the Windows Package Manager service work with Microsoft Endpoint Manager?
A: We will provide more information as it becomes available prior to the public preview of the Intune integration in 2022.

Q: Where can I find more information about the new Microsoft Store?
A: Get started today by visiting Publish apps and games to the Windows Store – Develop for Microsoft.


Source: Evolving the Microsoft Store for Business and Education
 

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