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Review: A month after Windows 10’s launch, Microsoft’s new Windows Store falls short

Review: A month after Windows 10’s launch, Microsoft’s new Windows Store falls short

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To find a new app on Windows 10, you may need to skip the Windows Store.

That’s the takeaway based on our experience so far with the Windows Store on Windows 10 desktop and touch-screen machines. A month after the now-unified storefront debuted, it still feels geared toward mobile devices and lacks some essential programs. Missing apps include popular communications client Slack, the full Evernote and even Microsoft’s full Office Suite for desktop users.

In some cases, the store does include lightweight versions of those essential apps,such as Evernote Touch and universal versions of the Office apps geared for touch devices. And with other apps, such as Slack and the full Office suite, the software is available for download on the web.

But anyone looking for a one-stop shop for Windows 10 apps will be disappointed.

How it works

With Windows 10, Microsoft introduced a new way for users to buy all of their digital goods. From movies to watch on your desktop, to apps for your phone, the Windows Store is where Microsoft wants you to shop for virtual products for all your Windows devices. But that all-in-one experience leads to a cluttered store and makes finding apps hard. Plus, the obvious omissions make the store feel incomplete.

It’s not necessarily the design that causes the Store to fail. There are clear sections for apps, games, music and movies. The download process is pretty seamless as well, with recently downloaded apps showing up in the rehabilitated Start Menu. But the selection is sparse.

The first thing you notice when logging into the Store is the preponderance of games. If you’re logging on from a more traditional desktop setup, the touch-focused games probably aren’t what you’re looking for. In fact, the whole Store seems aimed toward the Surface, touchscreen laptops and, eventually, Windows Phone users.

The Store was populated from the outset with a lot of mobile apps, which users can now download on their desktops. Facebook and Twitter are there, brought over from the Windows Phone store. And with an update to Visual Studio that lets developers reuse code from other platforms, users may see more apps popular on iOS and Android coming to Windows 10 soon.

But there is still a lot missing. There’s no TweetDeck, Todoist or Slack. Classic desktop games like Civilization and BioShock are missing too. Instead of a full-fledged Evernote, the Store only has the mobile-focused Evernote Touch.

Even Microsoft’s own apps aren’t the full-fledged desktop versions. The Windows Store only has the touch-optimized, mobile versions of Word, PowerPoint and Excel; if you want the full versions, you have to turn to the web.

Microsoft has made this distinction purposefully. But why have a unified store if it’s not comprehensive?

 

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