Axe-happy Redmond has set the clock ticking on paid apps from its moribund Microsoft Store for Business and Education.
The changes will be imposed from 14 April and the software giant has also demanded that an Azure Active Directory account be used for browsing – no more anonymous nosing.
A wander through the support sections for the store confirmed that while users who had already bought a paid app could continue to use it, no additional licences will be purchasable.
Free apps can still be acquired and the changes only apply to businessstore.microsoft.com or educationstore.microsoft.com. "This change doesn't impact apps in the Microsoft Store on Windows 10," added Microsoft. Great news for the three people that bother to use it.
Microsoft's Store for Business and Education is a relic (indeed, the support site mentions Windows 10 Mobile). It "regularly releases new and improved features," according to its documentation. However, the last update was back in 2018.
The company's plan was for its Stores to be places where developers could distribute Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps over all the supported platforms – Windows desktop, Phone, HoloLens, and so on. The Business and Education incarnations allowed IT admins to curate the contents of the Microsoft Store to meet the needs of their organisation.
The cross-platform dream of UWP never truly materialised and Microsoft recently threw in the towel on a pure UWP future with Project Reunion, aimed at unifying legacy Win32 apps with UWP APIs. Microsoft released the Project Reunion 0.5 Preview earlier this week and broke a few developer hearts with the deprecation of the Pivot navigation control.
The Register contacted Microsoft regarding the fate of its digital stores and will update should the company respond. Certainly, the imminent yanking of paid apps means the future doesn't look too bright for these particular avenues of distribution.
A Microsoft spokesperson sent us a statement: "We announced via Microsoft Docs two feature updates to the Microsoft Store for Business and Education. We have nothing further to share at this time." ®