Technically, it's possible for businesses to release their own apps for Windows 8 to employees outside of the public Windows Store. In practice, sideloading apps for small and medium-sized companies has turned out to be cost prohibitive and as a result, there's been little activity on that front.
A Microsoft team in China has apparently been working on a better way to sideload Windows 8 apps, but as ZDNet reports, those efforts have now been publicly silenced, at least for now. Earlier this week, the Microsoft Lighthouse blog posted up details on what the Chinese team called "BootyBay", a reference to a town in the massively multiplayer game World of Warcraft.
The blog post said that this proof of concept was designed for businesses who cannot access the current sideloading solutions Microsoft offers via System Center or Windows Intune. The team even uploaded an alpha version of "BootyBay" to Codeplex, which included a Windows 8 app that acts as a private Windows Store, a desktop application that serves as a "Store Agent" and an ASP.Net MVC app that's made to be a store server.
Sounds good, doesn't it? Apparently it was too good for Microsoft as both the blog post and the Codeplex alpha code have now both been removed. A spokesperson repeated the current Windows 8 app sideloading solutions to ZDNet but would not comment if the company has plans to make those features easier, and cheaper, to access. Perhaps more information will be revealed at BUILD 2014 in April.