Back in March, we speculated that Microsoft may be killing off the Microsoft Store for Business and Education soon, due to the fact that it had stated that users will not be allowed to purchase paid apps from April 14. The move had been previously rumored to kick off in June 2020 but the pandemic put a dent in those plans, and it seems that Microsoft pushed the date forward internally. Today, the firm has categorically confirmed that the Microsoft Store for Business and Education will not be supported on Windows 11 - which is scheduled for a release later this year.
Starting from the first half of 2022, customers will be able to find and deploy applications to their managed devices using Microsoft Intune or their unified endpoint management (UEM) solution. For unmanaged devices, deployment is possible via the WinGet tool in Windows Package Manager. This will be applicable to all existing and new app types coming to the redesigned Microsoft Store experience.
In light of the above, Microsoft Store for Business and Education are being killed off in the first quarter of 2023. The portals will not be supported in Windows 11 but admins can still utilize UEM solutions to harness the connection to the respective portals, and use it to deploy apps to managed Windows 11 devices, until the Stores are retired completely in 2023.
Windows Package Manager can be used to query and centrally deploy private and public apps to Windows 10 devices, and the same capability will be present on Windows 11. UEM solutions can be utilized to manage repositories. A preview for these capabilities will be released in the first half of 2022, with general availability targeted for the second half of 2022.
The overall and simplified timeline for this evolution in the commercial app deployment process is outlined below:
- 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
The company also has a list of useful FAQs on its announcement blog post for you to peruse if you're affected by these changes.