Microsoft’s Preparing to Release Desktop Office Apps in the Windows Store

Since the release of Windows 8, Microsoft has been trying to get its Windows Store off the ground. Everything from paying developers to build apps to building bridges that allow you to leverage code you have already been written has been tried with only marginal success so far.

With the company trying desperately to show the value of its Windows Store, you would think that they would be taking all of their classic applications and bringing them into the modern app environment. But, here we are in 2017 and the company’s premier productivity applications are still classic Windows applications.

That is about to change as evidence of the new Office apps have started to appear in the store and the company may be lining up an announcement alongside Windows Cloud for next week. At the company’s media event in NYC, Microsoft is expected to announce Windows Cloud which will only run modern apps from the Windows Store; to show their commitment to this Windows SKU, they must also have Office apps ready for release.

We don’t know exactly when Windows Cloud will be released but Office apps delivered through the Windows Store could arrive as soon as they are ready for public testing. It would not be surprising to see Microsoft launch a ‘preview’ of these applications first, followed by the full release later in the year which would require an Office 365 subscription to utilize the applications.

The other application that Microsoft has not brought to the store, although they have said they are working on it, is Edge. The company’s desktop browser, even though it was overhauled for Windows 10, still is tied primarily to Windows 10 feature pack updates.

Microsoft will need to clarify what happens to the classic Office applications once the store apps do arrive. The company will need to continue to support the Win32 products as modern apps from the store cannot run on Windows 7 or 8.1 and it’s tough to imagine a scenario where they would block classic apps on Windows 10 but anything is possible.