Could the death of UWP apps spell the end for the Microsoft Store?

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Microsoft’s UWP (Universal Windows Platform) apps could soon be dead, according to well-known Microsoft insider Paul Thurrott, which means the future of the Microsoft Store – where the apps are purchased – could be in doubt.

In an in-depth article, Thurrott explains that “I think it may be game over for Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform apps platform,” and how the failure of UWPs could spell trouble for the Microsoft Store.

The death of UWP apps won’t come as too much of a surprise to anyone. Originally designed as a way of allowing developers to make applications that could work on both Windows 10 and Windows Phone devices, the apps have become increasingly irrelevant after Microsoft dropped its smartphone ambitions.

With Microsoft ditching support for Windows Phone, developers had even less incentive to make UWP versions of their software. 

Meanwhile, Microsoft has been trying to encourage developers to continue to provide apps for the Microsoft Store by allowing them to use standard win32 code, or to write them as PWA (Progressive Web Applications) instead.

A barren store

It’s no secret that the Microsoft Store is struggling – especially when you compare the number of apps available on it compared to Apple’s App Store, or Google Play. PWA apps can be installed directly through a web browser, which means there’s even less incentive for Windows users to go to the Microsoft Store.

With developers increasingly dropping UWP – after all, why would they want to rewrite their applications for a platform that very few people use – this could spell trouble for the Microsoft Store.

As Thurrott notes, it’s unlikely we’ll see the Microsoft Store disappear completely. For a start, Microsoft uses it to sell games on Windows and Xbox One, but outside of games, it’s likely to become even more neglected by both developers and users.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.