The Microsoft Store is the intended one-stop shop for apps and games on Windows, but it’s never been all that great, and many popular apps still aren’t available through the store. Now it’s about to get even more annoying.
Microsoft first announced in May 2022 that it would roll out more advertising to the Store, allowing developers to target and buy ad space on searches for competitor’s apps. You may have seen this on the Apple App Store on iPhone — searching for “tiktok” often displays Instagram as the first result, because Meta paid a lot of money for that ad spot. It’s a strategy that often leads to smaller developers having to pay extra money to Apple for top spot in a search for their own application.
Microsoft has decided it also likes more money started rolling out the new advertising in the Store. The company said in a blog post, “Microsoft Store Ads was designed to help developers grow their business by getting their apps or games in front of the right customers at the right time, and to inspire Microsoft Store customers with great content. A developer of a music-making app, for example, will be able to create an ad campaign to get their app in front of an audience that likes music or likes to create music.”
The Microsoft Store is still fully supported on Windows 10, so you’ll see the new ads in the Store on both Windows 10 and 11. The one bright side is that ads can only be for items published in the Microsoft Store — you might see ads for Twitter or Spotify, but not for wireless earbuds or an iPhone-only game.