Windows Store opens worldwide with a modest stock of apps

Ok, so it's a few thousand. Even the Apple App Store had to start somewhere.

Microsoft announced on Tuesday that its app store for Windows 8/RT, known as the Windows Store, is now open to all developers worldwide who wish to submit apps. The company is taking the wraps off now to begin the process of certifying applications so it has a bit more of a stock by the October 26 launch for Windows 8/RT.

All eligible MSDN subscribers receive a free, one-year Windows Store developer account as part of their MSDN benefits. Eligible subscriptions include Visual Studio Professional, Test Professional, Premium, Ultimate, and BizSpark. This developer's account usually costs $50 per year and will allow developers to submit apps to the store.

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That, combined with the number of free developer tools Microsoft makes available - including Visual Studio Express for Windows 8 and Blend for Visual Studio 2012, plus DreamSpark program for students - gives developers a whole lot of room to grow their apps without having to pay out of pocket.

"We're very excited to announce the last significant milestone in the rollout of the Windows Store before the general availability of Windows 8 on October 26," wrote Microsoft Senior Vice President Antoine Leblond in a blog post to the Windows Store for Developers blog.

Of these 120 markets, 82 are new. The complete list is here. I look forward to seeing what Afghanistan produces.

The number of apps is up for debate. Some people say it's as low as 450, while Directions on Microsoft analyst Wes Miller said on Twitter that there are 1,033 Windows Store apps available internationally as of today.

Now, it remains to be seen whether popular Windows apps get the modern UI treatment. I expect the freeware/shareware level will come first since the apps are smaller and less complex. Photoshop will come a little later.

Word is many of the apps in the store are actually games. That'll be an interesting development, as gamers have been very angry at Microsoft lately. For now, let's see how this all plays out. You can't say Microsoft isn't trying to accelerate development when it's giving away the tools. They built it. Will you developers come?

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