Microsoft has now shared several important dates with regard to its Windows 8 stores. The company has officially set deadlines for developers who have built Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 apps.
The Microsoft Store will stop accepting new apps on Oct. 31, which applies to Windows Phone 8.x devices or earlier, plus Windows 8/8.1 packages. Then in July 2019, Microsoft will halt distribution of app updates to Windows Phone 8.x or earlier. Finally, in July 2023, the company will stop rolling out updates to all Windows 8/8.1 devices.
At that point, Microsoft says updates will only be available for customers using Windows 10 devices, but who knows what Windows 10 is going to look like in five years? Far from how it looks now, that's for sure.
Windows 8 Store
The Windows 8 Store failed to catch on with consumers, and from its launch up to its imminent end, it always struggled to attract developer and apps. To see the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 stores shutter its doors is unfortunate but not surprising. The app market is a highly competitive landscape. Keep in mind that it's even tougher to make a splash when it comes to desktop apps — even Apple has yet to see significant success from the Mac App Store.
Microsoft Windows 8 Store Timeline
Below is a handy timeline for developers:
• Oct. 31, 2018 — Microsoft stops accepting new app submissions for Windows Phone 8.x or earlier and Windows 8 and 8.1 packages. Existing apps aren't affected, and developers may still provide app updates until the next deadline.
• July 1, 2019 — Microsoft stops distributing app updates to Windows Phone 8.x devices or earlier. Developers can still submit app updates, but only for people using Windows 10 devices.
• July 1, 2023 — Microsoft stops distributing app updates to Windows 8 and 8.1 devices. Again, developers can still submit updates to existing apps, but these updates can only be accessed using Windows 10 devices.
Universal Windows Platform
All affected developers are being encouraged to port their apps using Microsoft's universal Windows platform, or UWP, which allows developers to build a single app that automatically adjusts itself based on the device it's running on and the display size. That means one app works across Microsoft's devices, including a Windows 10 PC, a Windows 10 tablet, or an Xbox One.
Thoughts about Microsoft laying the groundwork for the eventual death of both its Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 stores? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!