August 18, 2011, 1:24 PM — Microsoft has begun talking about Windows 8 in general terms, reprising a blog-based strategy that it used in the year-long run-up to Windows 7.
Both blogs were launched by Steven Sinofsky, the president of Microsoft's Windows and Windows Live division.
Yesterday, Sinofsky essentially confirmed that Windows 8 will support an app store when he listed it as the title of one of 35 teams working on the operating system.
Although Microsoft has publicly discussed a few bits of Windows 8, it has said nothing about integrating a download store with the new OS until now. Several Windows bloggers, however, reported finding signs of one in leaked previews of the OS several months ago.
Sinofsky's disclosure of an app store in Windows 8 would not be a surprise Stephen Baker, an analyst with the NPD Group who two months ago said, "It's clear that Microsoft will on some level go to an app store in Windows 8."
The question Baker had then was whether Microsoft's app store would be a curated market -- the approach Apple has taken with its iOS App Store, and to a lesser extent, the Mac App Store for systems running Mac OS X.
Baker thought not. "I think there will always be ways for retailers and OEMs to participate in software sales. Microsoft is fundamentally a good channel partner," he said.
The term "App Store" is a bone of contention between Microsoft, Amazon and Apple, with the first two arguing that the description isn't worthy of trademark protection. Apple has disputed that.
In January, Microsoft asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to deny Apple's trademark application, arguing that because the term is generic , competitors should be able to use it.
According to documents published by the USPTO's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, both Apple and Microsoft have hired linguistic experts to argue that "App Store" is not a generic term (Apple's position) and that it is (Microsoft's).
The last document posted by the Appeal Board was an early-April request by Apple for oral arguments.