Microsoft has spent the last year making a major push towards the Windows Store, which sells apps that work across all Windows 10 devices — whether they are PCs, tablets, smartphones, or holographic headsets.
It’s a fine idea. The problem is that, largely thanks to Microsoft’s collapse in the smartphone market, developers aren’t exactly rushing to fill the Windows Store with apps. While bigshots like Facebook and Uber have brought their wares to the Windows Store, you’re still not going to find popular apps like Snapchat and Pokémon Go.
This week, Microsoft announced that the Windows Store situation is going to get much better, very soon, thanks to the long-awaited arrival of Desktop App Converter, a tool that lets companies take their existing Windows software and convert it to a Windows 10 app.
Thanks to this tool, apps like Evernote and the popular doubleTwist media player are finally arriving in full force on Windows 10, according to a Microsoft blog entry.
Judging from this first wave of desktop apps coming to Windows 10, these apps aren’t exactly the best examples of Microsoft’s vision for a unified Windows 10 app store across devices, since they will only work on PCs and PC-like tablets (including the Microsoft Surface).
But there are a few benefits to getting these apps from the Windows Store, instead of the old-fashioned way of getting them straight from a developer’s website. The Desktop App Converter makes it easier for apps to integrate more deeply with Windows 10, including hooks into the Cortana digital assistant and Live Tiles in the Start menu. Evernote is already taking advantage of those features, according to the blog entry.
Another big advantage here is that it makes it super-simple to get all your apps back if you move from one PC to another PC, or even just reinstall Windows on your current machine. Since the Windows Store keeps track of what you own, it’s a single place to just re-download everything quickly.
Most of all, though, this could give the Windows Store what it’s so desperately needed: A reason to use it, and an influx of apps that people might actually need on their desktop PC. From here, it at least gives Microsoft a shot at attracting more developers and finally kickstarting some real excitement for the Windows Store.
In the meantime, Microsoft’s push continues. Earlier this year, Microsoft bought Xamarin, a startup that makes it easier to bring apps for iPhone and Android to other platforms, including Windows 10.
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