Microsoft's attempts at creating a centralized, unified platform for app distribution on Windows 10 have been far from successful. The number of major (and smaller) apps from third-party developers is remarkably low, and the quality of those apps often trails that of the Android and iOS counterparts, too. The shortage of content is only getting worse, with Microsoft having killed off Groove Music, as well as the e-book section in the past couple of years.
In addition to a lack of content, many aspects of the Store don't work as well as they should, something Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft's Xbox division, recognized back in 2018. And while Spencer said some work had to be done on the Store, the company ended up releasing a separate Xbox app that contains the game store, leaving the Microsoft Store as troublesome as always.
Now, it seems Microsoft is stepping even further away from the Microsoft Store. Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet reports that the company is shutting down the business and education variants of the platform. The Microsoft Store for Business and for Education were slightly altered versions of the Microsoft Store, which allowed administrators to tailor what apps can be download by users inside an organization. It could also be used to distribute certain apps that are only meant for businesses. However, the company hasn't made any significant changes to the platforms in well over a year based on its documentation.
According to the report, the two stores will be deprecated by June 30 of the current year, though this could be the expected date to inform affected users of the change, with a few more months after that for organizations to prepare for the shutdown. As for the standard Microsoft Store that the general public sees, the future is unclear. The web-based version of the platform doesn't seem to be going away, which makes sense since that's also where Microsoft sells its devices. However, the Windows 10 version of the Store has an "uncertain" future.
For all of its failings, the Microsoft Store has one key advantage, which is that apps distributed through it are trusted and recommended by Microsoft. But Microsoft is looking into other ways it can inform users when an app is trustworthy, and if a better solution is found, it's likely that there won't be a need for the Microsoft Store to exist anymore.