Windows 8 to come with its own App Store

18 Aug 2011

Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows 8 operating system will come with an essential new feature – yep, it’s very own App Store. Among the various teams at work on the new OS is an “App Store” team.

Microsoft president Steven Sinofsky made the disclosure in a blog introducing all the different teams that are at work on the new OS in which among teams like App Compatibility and Device Compatibility and App Experience was an App Store team.

This suggests that Microsoft’s next OS will also contain an App Store as a mechanism for buying and downloading desktop software in the same vein as Apple’s Mac App Store, which coincided with the launch of Mac OS X ‘Lion’.

“It is tempting for some to think of Windows as one entity or group, or for some to think of Windows as just a set of specific people,” Sinofsky said. “Sometimes, someone speaks at a conference or has a blog, and that comes to represent the product for you. In reality, Windows is always a product of the whole team and much of Microsoft. Nearly every development group contributes to building Windows 8 in some form or another. And Windows contributes efforts to most other groups, as well.”

Sinofsky said Windows is a “fairly broad project made up of a set of co-ordinated smaller projects.”

He said: “When we started building Windows 8 we had a clear sense of the direction we were heading and so we built a team structure to support that direction. Many of the teams work together while at the same time we try to break the work down into fairly independent groups – obviously, as a customer you want things to work together, but as an engineer, you also want to be able to work independently. That’s a fine balance we work to maintain.

“A lot goes into building a team structure to get all the work of Windows done. The most important first step is deciding ‘what’ we plan to get done, so that we can make sure we have the best teams in place and the best structure to do that work. At the same time, we have to make sure all the engineering processes – like daily builds, integration, quality, security and all the fundamentals – are integral from the start.”

The teams of developers at work on Windows 8

He said that Microsoft organises the work of Windows into “feature teams,” groups of developers who own a combination of architectural elements and scenarios across Windows.

“We have about 35 feature teams in the Windows 8 organisation. Each feature team has anywhere from 25-40 developers, plus test and program management, all working together. Our teams are all focused on building a global product, and so some of our teams are located outside the US and are also delivering globally.”

The following is a complete list of the teams of developers at work on the new Windows 8 operating system:

  • App Compatibility and Device Compatibility
  • App Store
  • Applications and Media Experience
  • App Experience
  • Core Experience Evolved
  • Device Connectivity
  • Devices & Networking Experience
  • Ecosystem Fundamentals
  • Engineer Desktop
  • Engineering System
  • Enterprise Networking
  • Global Experience
  • Graphics Platform
  • Hardware Developer Experience
  • Human Interaction Platform
  • Hyper-V
  • In Control of Your PC
  • Kernel Platform
  • Licensing and Deployment
  • Media Platform
  • Networking Core
  • Performance
  • Presentation and Composition
  • Reliability, Security, and Privacy
  • Runtime Experience
  • Search, View, and Command
  • Security & Identity
  • Storage & Files Systems
  • Sustained Engineering
  • Telemetry
  • User-Centered Experience
  • Windows Online
  • Windows Update
  • Wireless and Networking services
  • XAML

“In addition to these teams made up of development, test and program management, there are many others that are part of the product development team,” Sinofsky said. “Our content development team writes and edits our online assistance, website, deployment documents, and SDKs, to name a few things. Product planning leads customer and market research and also pays very close attention to feedback and telemetry around the pre-release software.

“Product design develops the overall interaction model, graphical language and design language for Windows 8.

“Our research and usability team creates field and lab studies that show how existing products and proposed features perform with all types of customers.

“Localisation brings Windows to over 100 languages. Our operations team runs services that are used by hundreds of millions of people and almost a billion PCs. Just to name a few,” he said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years