Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that the Microsoft Store for Business and Education would no longer be able to distribute paid apps after April 14, 2021. It seemed like Microsoft was getting ready to kill off the enterprise versions of the Microsoft Store, and now we have confirmation. Today, Microsoft announced that the Microsoft Store for Business and Education is being retired in the first quarter of 2023.
This change is part of an evolution to how businesses can distribute apps to their users. Microsoft is working towards a new way of managing and deploying apps for business users, and the Microsoft Store for Business isn’t part of it. This customized version of the Store was designed to integrate both public Store apps and private apps curated by each organization tailored to their own needs. However, the company is going for a different approach.
In the first half of 2022, Microsoft is going to start rolling out a new management experience, which lets businesses find and deploy apps from the public Microsoft Store using Microsoft Intune or a unified endpoint management (UEM) solution. This includes all free apps, including the new types of apps that will be allowed on the new Microsoft Store, including Win32, .NET, and PWAs. Android app support wasn’t specifically mentioned, though Microsoft did say all app types are supported.
As for private apps, businesses will have to create their private repository and access them in a new way. That’s where Windows Package Manager, or WinGet, comes in. It can integrate with Intune, and other UEM solutions can also choose to integrate with these APIs. Using WinGet, IT admins can more quickly deploy publics apps from the Microsoft Store, but they can also use them to deploy apps from private repositories. That’s going to be the replacement for the Microsoft Store for Business once it’s retired.
While the Microsoft Store for Business and Education is only being retired in 2023, it won’t be available in Windows 11 at all. However, admins can use Intune to deploy apps from these stores until they’re completely killed off. This might be because Windows 11 is going to ship with a completely new Microsoft Store, and Microsoft didn’t want to create a new version that’ going to be retired in just over a year.